Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

September 24, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 419-420: Sept 24, 2019

Episode 419 – Cambridge InsideOut: Sept 24, 2019 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Sept 24, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: Bow Tie Ride; supervoters; First St. Garage/Courthouse resolution; Cannabis Business Ordinance approved; beer gardens in City parks. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 420 – Cambridge InsideOut: Sept 24, 2019 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Sept 24, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: Road ahead for bike lanes on Mass. Ave.; resources to find out about candidates; Candidate Pages, CCTV videos, forums; sage advice; Follow the Money; campaign propaganda. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

September 23, 2019

Fire Up That Doobie – Cannabis, CPA Funding and the rest of the Sept 23, 2019 Cambridge City Council meeting

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , , , , — Robert Winters @ 10:23 am

Fire Up That Doobie – Cannabis, CPA Funding and the rest of the Sept 23, 2019 Cambridge City Council meeting

After an eventful week of Courthouse Controversy and Picking Winners in the Cannabis Sweepstakes, here are the things that struck me as interesting on this week’s agenda:Reefer Madness

Manager’s Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to recommendations of the Community Preservation Act Committee (CPAC) for FY2020.

It will be the maximum 80% to the Affordable Housing Trust, and the minimum 10% for Open Space Acquisition and 10% for Historic Preservation – non-negotiable, of course.

Manager’s Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a petition to amend provisions in Section 22.20, which governs Green Building Requirements, and also applicable definitions contained in Article 2.000.

If I’m reading this correctly, it appears that the City is ditching the costly LEED certification process for "green" buildings in favor of an in-house process that achieves the same goals or better. It’s also noteworthy that this proposal is for larger projects, so ordinary homeowners should not worry yet about the City monkey-wrenching with ordinary home improvements.

Manager’s Agenda #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a petition to amend provisions in Article 5.000 and Article 22.000 pertaining to setback requirements and exterior building insulation.

This appears to be a reasonable minor proposal to allow additional building insulation that might previously have extended into yard setbacks. We’re talking inches here, not feet.


Charter Right #1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 19-56, regarding a report on the feasibility of constructing a quick-build complete streets project to provide separated bike lanes on Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square, from Sidney Street to Putnam Avenue.

Communications #22. A communication was received from Michael Monestime, Central Square Business Improvement District, and Nathanael Fillmore, Cambridge Bicycle Safety, expressing their joint support for building protected bicycle lanes on Massachusetts Avenue between Sidney Street and Putnam Avenue in the near future.

The velo-zealots will likely be out in force once again proving their inability to understand words like "reasonable" or "compromise" or anything relating to vehicles with more than two wheels.


Unfinished Business #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the proposed Cannabis Business Permitting Ordinance. ON OR AFTER APR 22, 2019 THE QUESTION COMES ON PASSAGE TO BE ORDAINED

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Craig A. Kelley, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Aug 14, 2019 to continue discussions on a proposed amendment to the Municipal Code to create a Cannabis Business Permitting ordinance including amendments submitted at the July 30, 2019 Special City Council meeting.

Committee Report #3. A report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Craig A. Kelley, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Sept 18, 2019 at 11:00am to discuss amendments to the proposed Cannabis Business Permitting Ordinance.

They should just flip a few coins and approve something and move on. The Ordinance Committee apparently decided to go with the two-year moratorium to allow various "economic empowerment" applicants to have a head start before the medical dispensaries can also dip into the pot of Acapulco Gold. By the way, is there anyone who was not offended by the "Slave Amendment" postcard that was sent citywide by Richard Harding and his cannabis pals? I’m really starting to dislike everyone associated with this business.


Order #6. Alcoholic beverage permitting in large parks.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Kelley

As the Order says: "A better experience would be ensured for participants if a regulated, enclosed, and permitted beer garden could be located within a large park such as Danehy during a special event." Quite true, and Vice Mayor Devereux deserves a lot of credit for following up on this after this year’s sizzling Jazz Festival that would be so much nicer if it can be moved back to a field of real grass with a permitted beer garden.

Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Department of Human Services and the Cambridge Public Library  system to hire a social worker in the FY2021 budget for the Central Square Library branch.   Councillor Mallon, Councillor Siddiqui, Mayor McGovern

I suppose this might be a good thing, but I can’t help but wonder if this is yet another way to enable bad behavior that continues to make Central Square, and the Library in particular, a hostile place for families. – Robert Winters

September 17, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 417-418: Sept 17, 2019

Episode 417 – Cambridge InsideOut: Sept 17, 2019 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Sept 17, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: Sept 16 Council meeting (Part 1) – Cannabis, First Street Garage, Lobbying via Direct Mail, zoning history, changing nature of the city, New Street zoning failure. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 418 – Cambridge InsideOut: Sept 17, 2019 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Sept 17, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: Sept 16 Council meeting (Part 2) – UpperWest pandering and Charter ignorance, evolution of License Commission practices, Municipal Broadband feasibility and shelf life, candidate forums and endorsements, CDD policy failures. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

September 10, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 415-416: Sept 10, 2019

Episode 415 – Cambridge InsideOut: Sept 10, 2019 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Sept 10, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: Sept 9 Council meeting (Part 1) – First Street Garage, Affordable Housing Overlay, and more. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 416 – Cambridge InsideOut: Sept 10, 2019 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Sept 10, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: Sept 9 Council meeting (Part 2) – First Street Garage, Affordable Housing Overlay, and more. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

August 7, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 411-412: Aug 6, 2019

Episode 411 – Cambridge InsideOut: Aug 6, 2019 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Aug 6, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: Overlay juggernaut; targeting single-family homes for fun and politics; false attribution and zoning; lack of a coherent housing vision. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 412 – Cambridge InsideOut: Aug 6, 2019 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Aug 6, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: Cannabis Business Regulation and political patronage; electric vehicles, Eversource, and using surplus parking for charging; First Street Garage theatrics; municipal election candidates all set. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

July 30, 2019

Midsummer Madness – Featured Items on the July 30, 2019 City Council Agenda

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , , , — Robert Winters @ 12:53 pm

Midsummer Madness – Featured Items on the Tues, July 30, 2019 City Council Agenda

Here’s my first pass at the more interesting stuff.City Hall

On Electric Vehicles and Electric Infrastructure

Manager’s Agenda #22. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Numbers 19-13, 19-71 and 19-78, regarding Eversource substation expansion, energy projections and overall update on process.

Manager’s Agenda #23. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 19-59, regarding exploring a pilot for Level 1 (110V) EV and micromobility charging stations on street light poles throughout the city.

Manager’s Agenda #24. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 19-07, regarding a report on Boston’s electric vehicle charging station home rule petition and proposed similar language for City Council consideration. [Solicitor opinion] [Home Rule Petition] [Proposed Order]

Manager’s Agenda #25. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-141, regarding a report on safe way to bring power to the curb and across sidewalks to power electric vehicles.

I find these developments interesting in the sense that we’re seeing the future incrementally unfold. It is, however, worth noting that any decrease in the use of fossil fuels for vehicles or in buildings inevitably will lead to greater demand for electricity – at least in the near term, hence the relevance of the expansion of substations, etc. The likelihood that solar panels and rooftop wind turbines will take up the slack is more fantasy than reality.


On Picking Winners in the Cannabis Sweepstakes

Unfinished Business #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the proposed Cannabis Business Permitting Ordinance. [Draft Ordinance] [Advertised Draft Ordinance] [Zondervan memo] [Kelley Memo]

Committee Report #4. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Interim City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone Co-Chair and Councillor Craig A. Kelley, Co-Chair of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on June 27, 2019 was to continue discussions on a proposed amendment to the Municipal Code to add a new Chapter 5.50 entitled “Cannabis Business Permitting Ordinance.”

The Council will pass something very soon, but I continue to marvel at the degree to which some councillors are trying to pick the winners. Affirmative action is great, but there comes a point where this becomes simple political patronage.


On Preferential Treatment for Certain Developers in Perpetuity

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Interim City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Co-Chair and Councillor Quinton Zondervan, Co-Chair of the Health and Environment Committee for a public hearing held on June 4, 2019 to discuss the proposed 100% Affordable Housing Overlay as it relates to the tree canopy, open space, green space and stormwater management.

Committee Report #7. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Interim City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone Co-Chair and Councillor Craig A. Kelley, Co-Chair of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on July 2, 2019 to discuss a proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to create a city-wide Affordable Housing Overlay District (AHOD).

Communications & Reports #2. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Interim City Clerk, transmitting a memorandum from Councillor Carlone, regarding the general public my comments and questions, and zoning recommendations for the proposed Affordable Housing Overlay submitted on Apr 25, 2019.

Communications & Reports #3. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Interim City Clerk, transmitting a memorandum from Councillor Mallon and Mayor McGovern regarding Amendments to the Affordable Housing Overlay.

Regardless how one feels about this Overlay business, it is very clear that this proposal should properly be viewed as an emergency measure and that there should be a sunset clause after which it goes away unless it is freshly reauthorized at some point – perhaps 3-5 years from now. That said, each iteration of this dreadful proposal moves further toward making it permanent, i.e. a permanent mechanism for converting privately-owned residential property into public or quasi-publicly owned residential property. Sunset is being replaced with "review" which means precisely nothing. Apparently, the current group of nine councillors seems hell-bent on literally turning Cambridge into the Peoples Republic of Cambridge where the notion of private property is met with nothing but disdain. Zoning should be about predictability and consistency so that when properties change hands there can be reasonable expectations. This proposal replaces consistency with chaos.

This proposal should not pass, but if it does I hope that nobody ranks any of its supporters anywhere on their City Council ballot. This includes some people who I have considered friends, but they will not even get an honorable mention on my ballot if they vote in favor of this travesty. There may be other proposals that are worthy of support, but they are not currently before this City Council. Zoning regulations should not be authored by the beneficiaries of preferential zoning.


Everything Else

Manager’s Agenda #32. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-60, regarding small business parking pilot.

The City Solicitor’s opinion regarding how such a program could jeopardize Resident Parking is quite interesting.

Applications & Petitions #10. A revised Petition has been received from Stephen R. Karp, Trustee of Cambridge Side Galeria Associates trust to amend the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance by adding a new Section 13.100 to Article 13.00 of the Zoning Ordinance and to amend the Zoning Map to add a new PUD-8 District overlay that certain area (which includes parcels and portions of ways and streets) labeled as "PUD-8 district".

The proposal could help to make this area much more vital and inviting than it is today. This re-filed version reduces some of the heights of the prior proposal with added community benefits. It will be interesting to see how this fares and if the City administration is capable of weaving this together with other developments in the area into a unified whole.

Order #6. City Council opposition to any proposal that would increase allowable semi-truck weight or trailer length without the ability to regulate such at the municipal level.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Kelley, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Siddiqui

As a resident of one of the "corridors" that some councillors seem to use so frequently as political fodder, I am very interested in lessening the impact of the larger tractor-trailers that inevitably seem to find their way onto streets like mine. Whatever happened to the notion that local delivery vehicles should be used for local deliveries?

Order #7. That the Government Operations/Rules and Claims Committee be and hereby is requested to coordinate with relevant representatives from the Attorney General’s office and the City Manager’s office to hold a meeting, to include City staff, to review Open Meeting Law requirements for elected and appointed City officials.   Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Zondervan

Pardon my iconoclasm, but as long as there is plenty of disclosure and sufficient notice and a very public discussion for at least a week or two prior to an important vote, I have no issue with elected officials hashing out some details out of public view.

Order #11. That the Government Operations/Rules and Claims Committee is requested to coordinate with relevant staff to hold a meeting to discuss the feasibility of adding a private attorney budget item to the City Council budget.   Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Devereux

This request has been made and rejected countless times, and it should be rejected again. What would be better (and simpler) is to establish a protocol where the City Council can request that the Law Department work directly with the City Council or its committees on specific matters where it may be warranted. The last thing we need is to have a City Council attorney and the Law Department doing battle. Bear in mind that even though the City Manager has a contract, he still serves "at the pleasure of the City Council."

Order #16. That the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning Committee is requested to hold a hearing to review City policy on sidewalk surface treatments, with the goal of clearly establishing that where sidewalks are or traditionally were made of brick, the sidewalks should remain or become brick, when feasible after sidewalk work.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Zondervan, Vice Mayor Devereux

This has long been the established policy of the City when it comes to sidewalk replacement. Has this changed?

Order #17. That the proposed zoning amendments to Articles 2.00 and 4.32 of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance to permit Shared Mobility be referred to the Ordinance Committee for further review.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Mallon

Oh boy, another zoning petition.

Order #21. That the Amendment to Chapter 2.128 Surveillance Ordinance Technology be forwarded to the Public Safety Committee for a hearing.   Mayor McGovern, Councillor Kelley, Councillor Siddiqui

It’s one thing to oppose the use of facial recognition software for combing through images solely for the purpose of (correctly or incorrectly) identifying "bad guys" in the absence of a specific crime, but there are some very good reasons for using it after a crime has been committed in helping to identify a potential culprit. I would make the same comment regarding the use of surveillance cameras.

Order #25. That the City Manager is requested to instruct the License Commission and City Solicitor’s office to drop all charges against UpperWest and its owners, to reconsider UpperWest’s package store application, and to issue a public apology to UpperWest and its owners.   Councillor Zondervan

There is apparently no accounting for taste. If the City Council supports this Order, they belong in an asylum.

Committee Report #9. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Interim City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councilor E. Denise Simmons, Co-Chair and Councilor Sumbul Siddiqui Co-Chair, of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on June 25, 2019 to discuss the Affordable Housing Trust’s recommendations for the City’s Inclusionary Housing Program’s preferences on selecting residents for available units.

I am all for preferential treatment for long-time Cambridge residents and those for whom relocation isn’t a reasonable option, e.g. seniors or parents with young children. That said, we seem to be moving steadily toward an environment where the government is becoming the primary landlord and where benefits are more likely to go to those who are connected.

Communications & Reports #1. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Interim City Clerk, transmitting a memorandum from Councillor Mallon, transmitting the final report of the Mayor’s Arts Task Force.

Most of the report is a reprinting of meeting minutes, but the introductory part does emphasize some guiding principles and some action items. The study of arts in Cambridge has continued as long as the study of Central Square. It is never clear where either will ultimately lead but it is still worth raising the questions. – Robert Winters

June 25, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 405-406: June 25, 2019

Episode 405 – Cambridge InsideOut: June 25, 2019 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on June 25, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: Picking winners in Inclusionary Housing, Cannabis permitting; micro-legislating; First Street Garage & innuendo. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 406 – Cambridge InsideOut: June 25, 2019 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on June 25, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: Open Archives, Car Talk Plaza, City Dance Party; candidate updates; rooftop mechanicals, BarBQ; Arts Task Force, CMAC, EMF, and politics. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

June 23, 2019

Anxiously Waiting for Summer Recess – and Nomination Papers – June 24, 2019 at the Cambridge City Council

Filed under: 2019 election,Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , , , , , , — Robert Winters @ 10:22 pm

Anxiously Waiting for Summer Recess – and Nomination Papers – June 24, 2019 at the Cambridge City Council

Dance Party (photo cropped from Press Release)This will be the last meeting until the Midsummer Meeting in late July. Committee meetings will continue here and there. Dance Party at City Hall this Friday. Candidates can pick up nomination papers for the municipal election starting next Monday (July 1). Here’s my first pass at the tastier items on the meeting menu:

Manager’s Agenda #10. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $150,000 from excess FY19 parking fund revenue to the Public Investment Traffic and Parking Department Extraordinary Expenditures account, to establish 20 Mile Per Hour (MPH) Safety Zones on primarily local access streets across the City.

Sooner or later the argument will be made that 15mph is even safer. And so on. In truth, 20mph makes a lot of sense of some streets, but there are plenty of other streets where 20mph or even 25mph feels like an unnecessary crawl. Then again, with traffic congestion worse (by design), it’s all academic since you might rarely break 20mph anyway.

Manager’s Agenda #11. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a recommendation from the Planning Board not to adopt the New Street Overlay District Zoning Petition.

That’s two strikes. They apparently tried to sweeten the petition this time by including some subsidized housing in the mix, i.e. Let’s Make A Deal. This doesn’t have the votes to pass. Will there be a third attempt?


Unfinished Business #3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the proposed Cannabis Business Permitting Ordinance. [ON OR AFTER APR 22, 2019 THE QUESTION COMES ON PASSAGE TO BE ORDAINED]

Communications & Reports #3. A communication was received from Interim City Clerk Paula M. Crane from Councillor Zondervan, transmitting a memorandum regarding Establishing the Equitable Regulation of the Cannabis Industry in the City of Cambridge.

The cannabis train keeps on rolling (slowly) along. The voters approved it but the really wacky part of this is the way some councillors are trying to microscopically tailor the language of the Permitting Ordinance in order to effectively select who will get the greatest advantage in obtaining a permit to operate a cannabis retail store and even how much shelf space will be allocated to what products.


Communications #2. A communication was received from Gregg Moree, 25 Fairfield Street, regarding several issues he needs the Cambridge Police Department’s help rectifying.

If ever there was something in writing that should disqualify a City Council candidate, perhaps this is it. I won’t bother to link to the text. This man is an embarrassment.

Resolution #1. Resolution on the death of Professor Ifeanyi Menkiti.   Councillor Toomey, Councillor Kelley

I remember riding the MIT-Wellesley Exchange Bus with Professor Menkiti when I worked at Wellesley College. Farewell, sir.

Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Community Development Department and the City Solicitor to draft a zoning amendment that will count a portion of a new or substantially renovated building’s rooftop mechanicals (excluding solar installations) toward its allowed height and/or FAR.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Zondervan

This isn’t the first time this matter has been addressed. There was the Citywide Rezoning Petition (Sept 2000) that considered issues of bulk and height related to rooftop mechanical equipment (among other things). There was also a zoning petition on this topic introduced in August 2003 and ordained Nov 3, 2003. This followed the Rooftop Mechanicals Task Force Recommendations of June 2003 which also looked at visual and acoustic issues. This new proposal appears to be primarily about height and density and the fact that some of these installations today are much larger than in days of yore.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the City Solicitor and the City Hall building staff to identify a suitable location other than the Sullivan Chamber where the state flag may be displayed in compliance with state law.   Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Zondervan

We may soon need a "trigger alert" read at the start of every City Council meeting so that nobody is offended or traumatized by symbols or fabric or furniture or floor coverings. This Order actually symbolizes the distracted priorities of some councillors.

Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Community Development Department, Assessor’s Office, and the City Solicitor’s Office on developing a Vacant Storefront Registration Policy.   Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Mallon, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan

Collecting data and developing a database of such vacancies may be useful information, but the real question comes down to how that information will be used. There was a previous Order a couple of years ago that would have taxed such properties into oblivion. A far more thoughtful approach would be to provide incentives and guidance to get most of these properties back into active use – the carrot, not the stick.

Order #10. That the City Manager is requested to explain how Newport Construction was selected to work on the Inman Square redesign despite the serious allegations pending against them in Somerville.   Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Kelley, Councillor Carlone

Apparently the chosen contractor cut some trees down in Somerville. In the case of Inman Square, the City beat them to it.

Order #12. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Department of Finance and Department of Human Services to explore options for incorporating additional line items in the FY20 Budget to allocate supplemental funds for legal aid services, housing stabilization and tenant education and organizing to prevent displacement and address its ramifications on Cambridge residents and families.   Councillor Siddiqui, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mallon

These are basically all good ideas aimed at addressing things at a scale that actually matters, i.e. helping individuals rather than a wholesale policy change such as the proposed "100% Affordable Housing Overlay District" that seeks to move privately-owned residential property into public and quasi-public hands by allowing some select property developers to operate under radically different rules than other property owners.

Communications & Reports #2. A communication was received from Interim City Clerk Paula M. Crane transmitting a communication from Councillor Mallon, transmitting notes for the meeting of the ninth and last meeting of the Mayor’s Arts Task.  [Links to all Task Force reports]

While the intention of this Task Force is laudable, some of the comments and recommendations of its members cross way over into the political, i.e. echoes of the Sanders campaign and the Occupy phenomenon of a few years back. Former and new City Council candidates have not hesitated to shower fellow Task Force members with self-serving stump speeches. I’m sure some good actions will grow out of this Task Force and a place like Central Square will be better for it, but I hope that delivering personal or political benefits to outspoken Task Force members should not be among the benefits. It’s right and proper that we should take a step back every few years and reconsider the various arts initiatives and institutions supported by the City to make sure they are delivering best outcomes for all the residents of the city. However, this really shouldn’t be driven by the discontinuation of one person’s arrangement with the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center (CMAC) or the loss of a rehearsal space in the old EMF building in Cambridgeport. – Robert Winters

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