Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

June 20, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 235-236: June 20, 2017

Episode 235 – Cambridge InsideOut: June 20, 2017 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on June 20, 2017 at 5:30pm. Our guest was Cambridge City Council candidate Sean Tierney. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

Learn more about Sean Tierney at: seantierney.org.


Episode 236 – Cambridge InsideOut: June 20, 2017 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on June 20, 2017 at 6:00pm. Our guest was Cambridge City Council candidate Adriane Musgrave. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

Learn more about Adriane Musgrave at: voteadriane.com.

Adriane’s Campaign Kickoff event is June 24 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at Christopher’s in Porter Square.

[Materials used in these episodes]

June 18, 2017

Almost Summer – June 19, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda Highlights

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 9:09 pm

Almost Summer – June 19, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda Highlights

On the HorizonAs is often the case, a packed agenda is followed by a light agenda. Here are a few items of possible interest on this relatively lean menu:

Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and any other appropriate City departments on the feasibility and cost of installing computerized traffic signals along the City’s main corridors.   Councillor Devereux, Councillor Mazen

This Order could easily have been written 40 years ago when the issue wasn’t climate change so much as air quality. Back then a number of two-way streets were made one-way in order to move traffic through more quickly. I might argue that some of those one-way streets should be restored to two-way so that desirable routes can be made less circuitous. [Word has it that the Prospect Street bridge to Union Square, Somerville may be restored to two-way traffic – a good idea, in my opinion.] Of course all the best technology will still not resolve the problem of intersections with heavy traffic on both streets. Shorter or longer signal cycles won’t change the average throughput for an F-rated intersection when traffic is queued up in both directions.

Order #3. That the matter of reviewing the placement of the Committee Reports section within the City Council agenda be referred to the Rules Committee for consideration.   Councillor Cheung, Councillor Kelley

There is a certain logic in doing this consistent with Robert’s Rules of Order. One could argue that Committee Reports are more in line with "Old Business" and City Council Orders are really "New Business", and Old Business is generally taken up before New Business.

Order #5. City Council opposition to dismantling of the Dodd-Frank reforms that were put into place following the 2007-2010 Great Recession.   Councillor Carlone

The race is on to see which City Council candidates will most effectively associate themselves with national politics in this election year. There’s plenty of red meat to work with – even though the City Council has close to zero influence in national and international affairs.

Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Affordable Housing Trust with the view in mind of immediately contacting the Episcopal Divinity School to begin negotiations for the purchase of 8-acre Episcopal Divinity School site for construction of critically needed affordable housing units including single occupancy spaces and middle income housing, particularly housing for eligible Cambridge residents, families, starter apartments for young adults, veterans, homeless and seniors who have been displaced.   Councillor Toomey

A few years ago it was Shady Hill Square and a call to pack subsidized housing into the middle of that Square just to stick it to the residents who wanted to preserve the open space that was part of the original design of this group of buildings when built. Now the call is to insert subsidized housing into a parcel facing Brattle Street with land values somewhere in the stratosphere. It’s hard to interpret this as anything other than a statement sticking it to Brattle Street just because it’s Brattle Street.

Order #7. That the City Council go on record opposing H.R.38 and S.446, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, and calls on its representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to vote against these bills, and to work with their colleagues to oppose these bills.   Councillor Devereux, Vice Mayor McGovern

See Order #5 above. That said, the lunatics are clearly running the Congressional asylum if they really believe that gun-toting dudes from the deepest red states should have license to pack heat in Massachusetts just because they come from or simply visited a wacky state in order to get a gun and a license. Even some bars in the Wild West required patrons to check their weapons at the door.

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Craig Kelley, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, for a public hearing held on May 30, 2017 to discuss the role of police officers in the community, the installation of a police substation in Central Square and the stationing of a uniformed police officer in City Hall.

Though I like the idea of having a police officer in the vicinity of City Hall, I really don’t think the best use of highly-trained police is to serve as professional greeters. Regarding the installation of a police substation in Central Square, this would only make sense if done as a multi-purpose storefront location for police, MBTA workers, public information, and a public bathroom. That, of course, would require coordination among different agencies, so it will never happen. – Robert Winters

June 13, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 233-234: June 13, 2017

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge InsideOut — Tags: , , , , — Robert Winters @ 8:13 pm

Episode 233 – Cambridge InsideOut: June 13, 2017 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on June 13, 2017 at 5:30pm. Topics: civic updates, electricity aggregation program, new municipal election candidates, and more. Hosts: Judy Nathans and Robert Winters [On YouTube]


Episode 234 – Cambridge InsideOut: June 13, 2017 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on June 13, 2017 at 6:00pm. Topics: City Council wrapup, short-term rentals, liquor licenses. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube]

[Materials used in these episodes]

Catching Up on the Cambridge News – June 13, 2017

Filed under: 2017 election,Cambridge — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 11:49 am

Political Updates

June 10 – We have a new City Council candidate: Gwen Volmar

June 9 – We have a new School Committee candidate: Laurance Kimbrough

June 7 – We have a new City Council candidate: Jeffrey Santos

The following City Council candidates have either had or scheduled a campaign kickoff event or fomally announced their candidacy (15):
Ron Benjamin, Dennis Carlone, Olivia D’Ambrosio, Jan Devereux, Sam Gebru, Craig A. Kelley, Alanna Mallon, Marc McGovern, Nadya Okamoto, Jeffrey Santos, Sumbul Siddiqui, Vatsady Sivongxay, Sean Tierney, Paul Toner, and Quinton Zondervan.

The following individuals have not yet formally announced their candidacy but are expected to be City Council candidates (3):
Adriane B. Musgrave, E. Denise Simmons, Gwen Volmar

The following individuals have not yet announced their City Council candidacy and it’s not yet clear if they will (3):
Dennis Benzan, Leland Cheung, Timothy J. Toomey, Jr.

The following School Committee candidates have either had or scheduled a campaign kickoff event or fomally announced their candidacy (6):
Manikka Bowman, Fran Cronin, Emily Dexter, Kathleen Kelly, Laurance Kimbrough, Will MacArthur

The following individuals have not yet formally announced their candidacy but are expected to be School Committee candidates (3):
Alfred B. Fantini, Richard Harding, Jr., Patricia M. Nolan

2017 Cambridge
Candidate Pages

2017 Campaign Event Listings and Candidate Forums
[Note: Only events open to the general public (with or without RSVP) will be listed.]

Campaign Finance Reports –
2017 City Council


Cambridge Retail Strategic Plan

City SealThe City is currently preparing a Retail Strategic Plan to determine best practice policies and programs that will support and enhance the retail environment in Cambridge. The consultant team Larisa Ortiz Associates (LOA) and the Community Development Department’s Economic Development Division are leading the planning efforts and will identify short and long-term goals to propose for the City’s retail retention and recruitment strategy.

On Wednesday, June 14, 2017 please join us and the City Council’s Economic Development and University Relations Committee at City Hall for a public hearing to discuss the final recommendations from Larisa Ortiz Associates in regards to the Retail Strategic Plan. Policy and programmatic opportunities related to the retail environment in Cambridge will also be discussed.

Meeting details:
Time: 4:30pm-6:30pm
Date: June 14, 2017
Location: Sullivan Chambers, Cambridge City Hall

For additional updates on the Retail Strategy, please visit: http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/Projects/EconDev/retailstrategicplan


City Dance Party Friday, June 30, 7-11pm
Mass Ave. will be Closed to Traffic but Open for Dancing!

Join thousands of Cambridge residents and visitors who will gather on Massachusetts Avenue in front of Cambridge City Hall (795 Massachusetts Ave.) for the City’s 20th Annual Dance Party. The portion of Mass. Ave., between Prospect and Bigelow streets, will be closed to traffic from 7pm – Midnight but open for dancing. This event is free and open to the public. MBTA: Red Line to Central Square.

The annual dance extravaganza with DJ spun music is a special opportunity for the entire Cambridge community to celebrate summer. After dark, colorful lights will be launched, adding to the magic of the evening.

PLEASE NOTE: MBTA #1 Bus Line will terminate in Central Square at 6pm and is expected to resume full service by Midnight. (Take the Red Line subway to travel between Central & Harvard Squares). The closest subway stop to the Dance Party is Central Square, then two blocks to City Hall.

For more information, contact Maryellen Carvello at 617-349-4301 or mcarvello@cambridgema.gov.

Dance Party 2017


Cambridge Council on Aging Public Forum on Scams, Healthy Relationships, and Personal Wellbeing – June 22

City SealCambridge’s Council on Aging is hosting the public forum “Empowering Older Adults – Scams, Healthy Relationships and Personal Well-Being” Thursday, June 22, from 12:30-3:00pm, at the Cambridge Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Avenue. Prior to the performance, a mini-Resource Fair will take place at 12:30 p.m. Various agencies providing specific assistance in regard to resources and support addressing specific needs of older adults will be present. Light refreshments will be served.

As part of World Elder Abuse Awareness campaign, please join us for a performance with True Story Theater to increase awareness about elder abuse. Stories of actual challenges faced by older adults will be dramatized by the troupe. This program is presented by the Cambridge Elder Abuse Prevention Coalition and the performance was generously funded through a Tufts Health Plan Foundation grant.

This event is free. Registration is requested but not required. To register for this public forum, contact Susan Pacheco at spacheco@cambridgema.gov or call 617-349-6220.


Household Hazardous Waste Day Scheduled for Saturday, June 17th at the Volpe Transportation Center
Fire extinguishers now accepted

The City of Cambridge is sponsoring a Household Hazardous Waste collection day on Saturday, June 17th, from 9am to 1pm at Volpe Transportation Center – Parking Lot 4. Residents should access the lot via Munroe off Third St. Please see the map below.

Hazardous Waste Collection

This event is free and open to Cambridge residents (proof of Cambridge residency required), and for the first time, fire extinguishers will now be accepted at the event.

Proper disposal of household chemicals helps protect public health and the environment. Learn more about accepted materials, other guidelines, and future dates by clicking here, visiting www.cambridgema.gov/recycle, or calling Public Works at 617-349-4800.

Harvard Square Theater would be replaced with new building, cinema (May 31, 2017 by Dan Adams, Boston Globe)

proposed project - Harvard Square Cinema site
Proposed replacement for Harvard Square Cinema building

Harvard Square Cinema building - June 2017
Harvard Square Cinema building today – June 2017


Cambridge Program Aims to Bolster Local Renewable Energy Use
Cambridge uses the bulk buying power of the entire community to negotiate a better prices

Electric TowerStarting with August utility bills, Cambridge residents and businesses currently enrolled in Eversource Basic Service will begin to receive cleaner electricity through the launch of the Cambridge Community Electricity program. In addition to increasing the amount of renewable energy in the city’s electricity supply, the Cambridge Community Electricity program will provide cost savings to Cambridge customers at the time of its launch. This new program uses the bulk buying power of the entire community to negotiate a better price for the Supplier Services portion of electricity bills, a process called electricity aggregation. Participants will be able to opt-out of the program at any time without penalty or fee.

“Through the Cambridge Community Electricity program, the City is furthering our commitment to combatting climate change by increasing the amount of renewable energy in our community’s electricity supply,” said Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager. The Cambridge Community Electricity program rates is fixed from July 2017 through January 2019 at a price lower than Eversource Basic Service at program launch. Though future cost savings are not guaranteed, the goal of the program’s fixed rate is to provide savings when compared with the average cost of the changing Eversource Basic Service prices.

Cambridge residents and businesses who currently receive Eversource Basic Service will be automatically enrolled in the Cambridge Community Electricity program’s Standard Green option, available for 10.486 cents/kWh (the current Eversource Basic Service rate is 10.759 cents/kWh). This option includes 25% more solar energy than required by the state, derived from renewable energy projects in or near Cambridge.

Residents and businesses also have the option of enrolling in 100% Green, which provides 100% renewable electricity generated by projects throughout New England. This option is available by request for 12.180 cents/kWh. “The Cambridge Community Electricity program reflects the City’s commitment to the Net Zero Action Plan. Increasing renewable energy options for residents and businesses brings us closer to achieving carbon neutrality by mid-century,” said Iram Farooq, Assistant City Manager for Community Development.

Electricity delivery, outage issues, and billing will continue to be handled by Eversource, and those who are eligible for discounts through Eversource will continue to receive the same benefits. Residents with solar panels on their property will continue to receive net metering credits, which will continue to be calculated based on the Eversource Basic Service rate.

Eligible customers will receive detailed letters about the program in June and the public is invited to attend any of the following information sessions:

Tuesday, June 13
Citywide Senior Center
806 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139
12:30pm
Monday, June 26
City Hall Annex
344 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139
6:00pm

To opt-out prior to the program’s July launch, requests must be submitted by July 5, 2017 to Agera Energy at 1-888-589-7790 or online at www.masspowerchoice.com/cambridge, or by signing and returning the reply card received in the mail.

For additional information, visit the program website at www.masspowerchoice.com/cambridge. Questions or comments can be directed to Cambridge Community Electricity program consultants at 1-844-379-9934 or cambridge@masspowerchoice.com.

June 12, 2017

Coming up at the June 12, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , , , — Robert Winters @ 2:07 am

Coming up at the June 12, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting

It’s a loaded agenda this week. Not so many Council Orders, but plenty on the City Manager’s Agenda and Committee Reports. Here are a few brief comments on some of these matters.

Manager’s Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a request for authorization to transfer a leasehold interest in the property at 1-15 Vail Court to the Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust and to appropriation $750,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Fund Public Works Department Extraordinary Expenditures to facilitate the abatement and demolition of the existing structures on the site.

The Vail Court project slowly moves along. In an ideal world there would be a more comprehensive plan for not only the Vail Court property but also the adjacent parking lot at Prospect St. and Bishop Allen Drive that could transform that whole block into something great. I haven’t heard anything lately regarding challenges to the compensation for the eminent domain taking.

Vail Court - 2013
Vail Court in 2013

Manager’s Agenda #2. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-4, regarding current or potential future public-private partnerships that could deliver an operational Foundry that consists of significant community space for the community.

The gift that keeps on giving. </sarcasm>

Manager’s Agenda #9. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-39, regarding a report on the City’s policy of conducting CORI checks on applicants of the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

As the Manager’s letter notes: "It is a state requirement that every staff person or volunteer who works with children in a licensed summer camp or a childcare setting must have gone thru the CORI process." Indeed, even those of us who teach at Harvard Summer School have to submit to this every year. However, as the letter says: "The CORI record results are not used in any way to deny young people an opportunity to participate in the Mayor’s Program." Seems fair enough.


Community Benefits $$

Manager’s Agenda #19. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following person as a member of the Community Benefits Advisory Committee for a term of three years, effective June 1, 2017: Kathryn Fenneman, Risa Mednick, Elizabeth Aguilo, Cibele Goncalves, Daniel Liss, Rowan Murphy, Amy Salomon, Geeta Pradhan, Susan Lapierre, Paul Parravano, Ellen Semonoff, Sandra Clarke, and Lisa Peterson (Chair)

Manager’s Agenda #20. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $3,728,500 from Free Cash to the Community Benefits Stabilization Fund.

Manager’s Agenda #21. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $1,366,506 from Free Cash to the Mitigation Revenue Stabilization Fund.

This represents the culmination of an idea that was first proposed some years ago – namely that instead of "mitigation" being worked out in what sometimes were side deals with individual councillors in order to gain their support, money is now to be deposited into the General Fund, worthy recipients and projects will be vetted by the advisory committee, and then ultimately voted by a majority of the City Council. I’m still not sure how this would work for donations of real property (as was the case with the Foundry Building).


A Bonanza of Planning Board Reports

Manager’s Agenda #22. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation not to adopt the Zoning Petition regarding rooftop spaces in the Harvard Square Overlay District.

"…the Board believes that a more comprehensive examination of Harvard Square’s zoning needs, including community discussion, should be undertaken before implementing a single limited zoning change."

Manager’s Agenda #23. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation not to adopt the petition to rezone the block bounded by Third Street, Cambridge Street, Second Street and Gore Street from Business A to a new designation Business A-5.

"…the Board believes that this petition would benefit from additional study and input from the community to determine if it should stand alone or if there should be a broader vision for the area as a whole, and also to determine the range of impacts such change(s) might have. Some of this study may occur in the future as the Envision Cambridge process focuses on major corridors, including Massachusetts Avenue and Cambridge Street."

Manager’s Agenda #24. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation not to adopt the Observatory Hill Village (Mahon, et al.) Zoning Petition.

Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Leland Cheung and Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on May 18, 2017 to discuss a zoning petition filed by the Friends of Observatory Hill Village to establish the Observatory Hill Village Overlay District.

According to the petitioners, "the zoning petition was submitted to preserve the business residential mix [in this 3-block long stretch of Concord Ave.]. Developers have an economic interest and an incentive to replace commercial retail buildings with high end housing. This puts the businesses at risk." It seems likely that this petition is headed for re-working and re-filing.

Manager’s Agenda #25. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation (no recommendation at this time) on the Zoning Petition regarding vacant or abandoned buildings.

The key sentence here is: "The Board also believes that the proposed fee structure needs to be reconsidered, especially in consultation with the Law Department as to the legality of certain of its provisions." Basically, the fee that was proposed is a clear regulatory taking and could never pass legal muster. Perhaps if they can replace that with something reasonable this petition could be re-filed and perhaps some good will come of it.

Manager’s Agenda #26. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt the City Council Petition on Short-Term Rental Housing.

Committee Report #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 May 31, 2017 to discuss a petition by the City Council to amend the Zoning Ordinance to create a new chapter 4.60 to regulate short-term rentals (STR).

There may be some additional details to be ironed out prior to ordination, but this is the petition that seems destined to pass. It will likely be passed to a 2nd Reading at this meeting and enter the queue for ordination in a couple of weeks or at the Midsummer meeting in August at the latest. The petition expires Aug 29.

Manager’s Agenda #27. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation not to adopt the Cockrill, et al., Petition on Short-Term Rental Housing.

Committee Report #6. 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 May 24, 2017 to discuss the zoning petition filed by Latoyea Hawkins Cockrill, et al. to regulate short-term rental uses throughout the City.

This petition was apparently filed by industry people who favor the proliferation of short-term rentals with minimal regulation. It won’t be ordained and the City Council would be wise to just let it die without even being passed to a 2nd Reading. It’s interesting that the first signer after whom the petition is named doesn’t even support it. In the committee report Councillor Devereux suggests that in light of this fact the City should reconsider how petitions are named. In fact, there’s already an established precedent for this situation. In the year 2000 the "Yoder Petition" was renamed the "Tringo Petition" when Ralph Yoder stated that he no longer supported the petition that bore his name. The new name was derived from the second signature on the petition. Perhaps we should now refer to the "Cockrill Petition" as the "Stonehouse Petition" after the next valid signature on the petition, but for all we know he may not support it either. Seriously, the petitioners should really be taken to the woodshed for how they pushed this petition.


Manager’s Agenda #29. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-7, regarding an update on the City’s Community Choice Electricity Aggregation Plan.

I’m now almost convinced that this may be a good thing. I’ve been getting offers for several years now from energy companies who want me to sign up with them and lock in a reduced rate. The Eversource rate is then often later adjusted to be lower, so I’ve always told them to take a hike. Apparently, with the City’s arrangement I could go back to Eversource at any time if I don’t like the relative cost, so I suppose I’ll just go along. It’s an opt-out arrangement, so many of us will just allow laziness to prevail.

Manager’s Agenda #34. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $750,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Fund Public Works Department Extraordinary Expenditures Account to be used to conduct geotechnical, and environmental services to support the site assessment for a Concept Plan to site the new school on Callahan Field and future Feasibility Study for the Tobin School project.

This could yield an attractive option to construct the new school adjacent to the existing school. The entire area used to be brickyards and then landfill.

Manager’s Agenda #36. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $1,000,000 from Free Cash to the Public Works Department Public Investment Fund Extraordinary Expenditures Account for the citywide curbside organics program.

If all goes well we could have citywide organics collection possibly by next April. This appropriation will provide for purchase of a rubbish packer and purchase and delivery of curbside bins, kitchen collector pails and other materials and services necessary to roll out the program to approximately 20,000 households (in addition to the 5,200 households on the Monday trash route that currently have organics collection).

Order #2. That the City Council condemn President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and urge Governor Charles D. Baker to publicly commit to ensuring that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts similarly adheres to the goals and ideals of the Paris Climate Agreement.   Mayor Simmons, Councillor Devereux, Councillor Cheung

Nobody should be surprised by the introduction of this City Council order. My guess is that neither the Commonwealth nor the City will be changing any plans as a result of the bloviations of the current occupant of the White House.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Community Development Department and the Planning Board to determine how Visual Preference Surveys (VPS) could be incorporated into the planning and zoning process.   Councillor Carlone

I did one of these surveys not long ago. It seemed like a useful exercise for things like building heights relative to street width and how retail fits in with residential. That said, I don’t know that it would be wise to make this a binding requirement so much as an advisory measure of public support for various options. I hate to think where we’d be if every proposed change was subject to plebiscite.

Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the License Commission with the intent of formulating a plan that will provide relief and fair compensation to liquor license holders that have been impacted by dramatic devaluing of their liquor license.   Councillor Toomey

The value of liquor licenses may go the way of taxicab medallions. I have sympathy for someone who sank a lot of money into the purchase of a liquor license from an existing license-holder, but the old phrase "caveat emptor" still applies. Taxpayers should not be asked to bear the lost value of something freely purchased by a willing buyer from a willing seller. Times change. The loss of value of a license in no way reduces the ability to operate a business profitably.

Committee Report #1. 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 May 22, 2017 to discuss the creation of a section in the agenda entitled “General Council Discussion;” and dedications to identify a suitable location site to honor the commitment to the City made by City Councillor and State Representative Timothy J. Toomey, Jr. and to identify an appropriate building to dedicate to Richard C. Rossi’s decades of service to Cambridge.

I attended and gave testimony during the first part of this meeting. The topic grew out of a City Council order from Councillor Kelley to carve out a section in the City Council agenda where any councillor could inform his colleagues what he’s been working on in a manner that doesn’t violate the Open Meeting Law. What interested me is the emergent (and questionable) practice of some councillors holding unpublicized and essentially private meetings leading to policy proposals. There is a better way. Any councillor can give adequate notice and hold a public meeting of an ad-hoc committee (possibly with just one councillor) on any topic. Anyone interested in that topic could then attend and possibly provide useful input.

Committee Report #2. 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 May 23, 2017 to discuss a proposed Municipal Code amendment to Title 8 entitled “Health and Safety” by adding a new Chapter 8.69 entitled “Running Bamboo Ordinance.”

It looks like the City Council may finally be running with the Running Bamboo Ordinance. Now they’ll have start thinking about the next thing to be banned. – Robert Winters

June 6, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 231-232: June 6, 2017

Episode 231 – Cambridge InsideOut: June 6, 2017 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on June 6, 2017 at 5:30pm. The main topic was the June 5 City Council Roundtable meeting on Envision Cambridge – Alewife. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]


Episode 232 – Cambridge InsideOut: June 6, 2017 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on June 6, 2017 at 6:00pm. Topics: a) Envision Cambridge Roundtable; b) Mass. Democratic party platform; c) short-term rental regulation. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube]

[Materials used in these episodes]

May 29, 2017

Cambridge Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony – 2017

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





















May 23, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 229-230: May 23, 2017

Episode 229 – Cambridge InsideOut: May 23, 2017 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on May 23, 2017 at 5:30pm. Topics included ranked choice voting advocacy in Cambridge and elsewhere in Massachusetts; the role of City Council committees vs. unofficial (and not especially public) working groups. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]


Episode 230 – Cambridge InsideOut: May 23, 2017 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on May 23, 2017 at 6:00pm. Topics included the May 22 City Council meeting, affordable housing in Somerville, short-term rentals and more. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

[Materials used in these episodes]

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