Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

October 18, 2019

2019 Cambridge City Council Campaign Bank Reports

The following table shows the summary bank reports 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.

CandidateFromToStartReceiptsExpendBalanceAs OfNotes
PAC - ABC05/16/1810/15/190.0019509.0910626.498882.6010/16/19A Better Cambridge
PAC - CCC10/01/1910/15/190.008855.005654.153200.8510/18/19Cambridge Citizens Coalition
PAC - CResA07/15/1910/15/190.001204.250.001204.2510/16/19Cambridge Residents Alliance
PAC - Cambr. Bike Safety07/15/1907/15/190.000.000.000.0007/15/19Cambridge Bike Safety
PAC - Our Revolution Cambridge10/09/1910/09/190.000.000.000.0010/09/19filed 10/9/19 w/OCPF
Akiba, Sukia07/16/1910/15/190.003000.031112.141887.8910/17/19
Azeem, Burhan05/01/1910/15/190.0011475.638724.092751.5410/17/19new candidate, May 7
Carlone, Dennis02/01/1810/15/1910088.5824352.3314678.9619761.9510/18/19
Franklin, Charles03/05/1910/15/190.0023700.3717854.465845.9110/16/19new candidate, Mar 5
Kelley, Craig02/01/1810/15/194951.6524349.6818113.4811187.8510/17/19
Kopon, Derek07/01/1910/15/190.002808.341905.83902.5110/18/19new candidate, July 2
Levy, Ilan02/01/1810/15/19-44.32546.05401.9199.8210/16/19
Mallon, Alanna02/01/1810/15/195380.4536321.2524348.7117352.9910/17/19refund deducted
McGovern, Marc02/01/1810/15/196376.1788669.7271664.6123381.2810/16/19$600 refund deducted
McNary, Jeffery08/02/1910/15/190.000.000.000.0010/15/19will not raise/expend funds
Mednick, Risa07/16/1910/15/190.0013501.4910097.273404.2210/16/19new candidate, July 15
Moree, Gregg08/01/1910/15/190.001500.001427.1072.9010/18/19
Musgrave, Adriane02/01/1810/15/19474.6735690.0713631.9622532.7810/17/19
Nolan, Patty07/01/1910/15/190.0016652.033564.8713087.1610/16/19new candidate, June 11
Pitkin, John06/16/1910/15/190.009468.432218.337250.1010/16/19new candidate, July 17
Siddiqui, Sumbul02/01/1810/15/199334.0530183.3114852.3924664.9710/16/19
Simmons, Denise02/01/1810/15/197595.5038957.1023125.9423426.6610/16/19
Simon, Ben03/16/1910/15/190.0011457.336837.404619.9310/16/19new candidate, Apr 2
Sobrinho-Wheeler, Jivan C.03/11/1910/15/190.0017559.4812998.624560.8610/16/19new candidate, Mar 11
Toomey, Tim02/01/1810/15/1910024.4938500.8836320.4512204.9210/16/19$15,000 repaid loan deducted
Williams, Nicola A.03/12/1910/15/190.0022989.3821278.571710.8110/16/19new candidate, Mar 12
Zondervan, Quinton02/01/1810/15/191279.6633725.9327802.697202.9010/16/19
Summaries of potential 2019 City Council campaign bank reports. Adjustments to the totals have been made to reflect returned donations and other factors. [updated Oct 18, 2019 at 7:15pm]

Campaign Finance Reports – 2019 City Council (updated Oct 18, 7:15pm)

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October 14, 2019

Follow the Money – Cambridge City Council Campaign Receipts 2019

Filed under: 2019 election,Cambridge,campaign finance,City Council — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 10:35 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 Oct 20, 9:49pm
Candidate (and PACs)ReceiptsCambridgePctunionsPctReal EstatePctunions+REPct
Total $511,694.10 $318,021.3562.2% $35,100.006.9% $46,880.009.2% $81,980.0016.0%
McGovern, Marc C. $90,036.21 $40,413.0044.9% $ 11,550.0012.8% $26,000.0028.9% $37,550.0041.7%
Toomey, Timothy J., Jr. $48,625.76 $26,253.0354.0% $4,100.008.4% $10,750.0022.1% $14,850.0030.5%
Simmons, E. Denise $39,006.00 $21,551.0055.3% $5,200.0013.3% $5,700.0014.6% $10,900.0027.9%
Mallon, Alanna $36,990.25 $25,622.2569.3% $5,250.0014.2% $1,400.003.8% $6,650.0018.0%
Siddiqui, Sumbul $30,064.68 $18,186.6860.5% $4,250.0014.1% $350.001.2% $4,600.0015.3%
Kelley, Craig A. $24,999.00 $19,117.0076.5% $2,000.008.0% $150.000.6% $2,150.008.6%
Musgrave, Adriane $36,778.35 $18,719.3550.9% $1,500.004.1% $600.001.6% $2,100.005.7%
ABC - PAC $21,494.26 $17,875.2383.2% $ -0.0% $1,595.007.4% $1,595.007.4%
Carlone, Dennis $21,640.00 $16,400.0075.8% $ 500.002.3% $ 250.001.2% $ 750.003.5%
Mednick, Risa $13,294.00 $9,436.0071.0% $ 500.003.8% $ - 0.0% $500.003.8%
Azeem, Burhan $9,004.35 $7,684.3585.3% $250.002.8% $35.000.4% $285.003.2%
Williams, Nicola A. $23,118.59 $17,154.7274.2% $ -0.0% $ 50.000.2%$ 50.000.2%
Akiba, Sukia $ - $ -- $ -- $ -- $ --
CCC - PAC $ - $ -- $ - $ -- $ --
CResA - PAC $1,350.00 $1,350.00100.0% $ -0.0% $ -0.0% $ -0.0%
Franklin, Charles $24,663.55 $14,858.5560.2% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
Kopon, Derek Andrew $ 2,810.00 $ 2,500.0089.0% $ -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. $14,350.00 $8,930.0062.2% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
ORC - PAC $1,942.00 $1,842.0094.9% $ -0.0% $ -0.0% $ -0.0%
Pitkin, John $10,797.00 $10,047.0093.1% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
Simon, Ben $11,316.33 $6,000.0053.0% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
Sobrinho-Wheeler, Jivan $17,846.77 $11,739.1965.8% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
Zondervan, Quinton $29,617.00 $20,392.0068.9% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%

October 12, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 423-424: Oct 8, 2019

Episode 423 – Cambridge InsideOut: Oct 8, 2019 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Oct 8, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: Tax rate hearing; property tax classification; residential exemption; tax levy; Harvard Square Zoning Petition; and more. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 424 – Cambridge InsideOut: Oct 8, 2019 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Oct 8, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: Energy (gas & electric) infrastructure and City Council proposals; other topics from Oct 7 Council meeting. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

October 7, 2019

Never Mind Choice – Let’s All Ban Together – Oct 7, 2019 City Council Highlights/Lowlights

Never Mind Choice – Let’s All Ban Together – Oct 7, 2019 City Council Highlights/Lowlights

Here’s this week’s sampler of things interesting and/or infuriating (grouped as appropriate):

Manager’s Agenda #2. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation not to adopt the City Council zoning petition to amend Article 19.000 of the Zoning Ordinance regarding utility and infrastructure impacts of large development projects that require a Project Review Special Permit.

Order #8. Public Utilities’ Planning and public meetings.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Carlone

The Planning Board basically said in recommending against this petition that though they would like Project Review Special Permit applicants to provide information about energy needs, etc., they don’t believe it’s in their purview "to make findings with regard to infrastructure that is managed by state-regulated public utilities over which neither the City nor the developer have control." They also expressed concern that the proposed changes might prevent development projects that could otherwise improve existing infrastructure (as mitigation). The Board did acknowledge the value of receiving information on the overall impact of a particular project on the energy system and the cumulative impacts of new development but did not support precluding projects strictly on the basis of such information.

The context of this proposal is the proposed Eversource substation on Fulkerson St. and the fact that with new development comes the need for such facilities – unless you are of the belief that all new buildings can be built honestly "net zero". The fact is that most, perhaps all, buildings that are advertised as "net zero" still require energy off the grid. The "net zero" identification is achieved by creative accounting, i.e. by purchasing energy from renewable sources and by buying of energy credits. This doesn’t eliminate the need for the infrastructure to deliver the energy.

Order #8 seeks "to institute regularly scheduled, public conversations between the Planning Board and public utility representatives from Eversource, the Water Department, Comcast, Verizon, and any other appropriate entities, in order to keep the City and the public informed." That’s a good idea regardless how one feels about this specific zoning petition.


Manager’s Agenda #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the votes necessary to seek approval from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue of the tax rate for FY2020.

Communications #1. A communication was received from Christopher Schmidt, regarding not using excess balances to lower the tax levy.

The FY20 property tax levy based on the approved FY20 Budget is $438,128,694, an increase of $28,318,833 or 6.9% from FY19. For comparison sake, the current national inflation rate is 1.7%. The FY20 Adopted Operating Budget increased by 5.7% over the FY19 Adjusted Budget. The FY19 levy was 5.3% over FY18.

The FY20 residential tax rate will be $5.75 per thousand dollars of value, subject to Department of Revenue approval – a decrease of $0.19 or -3.2% from FY19. The commercial tax rate will be $12.68 – a decrease of $1.03 or -7.5% from FY19. However, before you pop the champagne corks to celebrate the lower tax rate, note that assessed values continue to soar. Total residential property values increased by 9.9%, and total commercial property values increased by 15.6%, so the median tax bills (including the residential exemption) will all be jumping – 8.9% for single-family homes, 7.4% for two-families, 6.0% for three-families, and just the tiniest of increase of 2.8% for condominiums.

I find it interesting and somewhat alarming that at City Council candidate forums some incumbents and challengers continue to celebrate how flush with cash we are and that we should be substantially increasing spending. As the noted letter indicates this also appears to be the sentiment of the major players with endorsing organizations like ABC. There was even one candidate at a forum last night who proposed that the City simply buy up all residential housing in Cambridge and turn it into "social housing". At the signpost up ahead, The Twilight Zone.


Charter Right #6. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with the appropriate City departments to determine whether it would be possible to allow a permitted area for serving alcoholic beverages on Danehy Park property during special community-wide events.

As I said when this was introduced – great idea, and consistent with policies that the DCR has adopted for some of its parks.


Unfinished Business #12. A Zoning Petition has been received from Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. et al proposing a Grand Junction Pathway Overlay District [Ordination Comes on or after Oct 7, 2019]

Communications #39. A communication was received from Joseph T. Maguire, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. regarding Amended Zoning Petition for Grand Junction Pathway Overlay District.

Alexandria is asking that the petition be allowed to expire so that it can be re-filed. This matter is also intertwined with the Eversource substation matter.


Applications & Petitions #2. An application was received from &Pizza, requesting permission for a sandwich board sign in front of the premises numbered 3 Brattle Street with a start date of Dec 1, 2019 thru Mar 31, 2020 and a start time of 11:00am and a end time of 11:00pm.

Applications & Petitions #5. A Zoning Petition has been received from Suzanne P. Blier regarding Harvard Square Zoning Petition.

Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department, the Harvard Square Business Association and the Harvard Square Neighborhood Association to determine the feasibility of closing some portion of Harvard Square to vehicular traffic on a select number of days during the summer of 2020 to have open market-style events.   Councillor Mallon, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui

It is worth noting (and celebrating) that the freshly introduced Harvard Square Zoning Petition is the result of collaboration among residents and property owners who haven’t always been on speaking terms. Kudos once again to future Nobel Peace Prize nominee Patrick Barrett for helping this process along. We all want to see a Harvard Square revival – and not just for occasional one-day events. As for the sandwich board sign in front of &Pizza, I thought having one of the most prominent locations in the heart of Harvard Square would speak for itself – no extra signage required. I’ll add that really good pizza also speaks for itself.


Communications #2-6,12. Sundry communications re: "Affordable Housing Zoning Overlay".

Is anyone listening? Or are 5 councillors still biding their time in the hope that they can inflict this or worse on the city after January 1?

Communications #10. A communication was received from Gregg Moree, 25 Fairfield Street, regarding State Senator Sal DiDomenico clear evidence of him going to Florida without permission.

Unbelievable. Sometimes I feel that the requirement for candidacy should be something other than just 50 signatures.

Communications #13-36. Sundry communications re: support for bike lanes.

Basically all the same letter saying the same thing about how the priorities of one group of stakeholders outweigh all other considerations and there is one and only one way to make cycling safer.


Order #3. That the full City Council ask the City Solicitor to report back on the legal authority of the City to ban the use of natural gas in newly constructed buildings.   Councillor Zondervan

Order #19. That the City Manager is requested to direct the City Solicitor, Community Development, Public Works, Inspectional Services and any other related departments to review the proposed amendments regarding the prohibition of Natural Gas Infrastructure in New Buildings.   Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Siddiqui, Vice Mayor Devereux

Committee Report #1. A report from Vice Mayor Jan Devereux and Councillor Quinton Zondervan, Co-Chairs of the Health and Environment Committee for a public hearing held on Sept 25, 2019 regarding banning natural (fracked) gas infrastructure in Cambridge.

As I wrote elsewhere regarding candidates, some want to mandate change and remove choice. The better candidates want to encourage change and provide incentives. It’s a big difference. Some candidates think primarily in terms of bans and reducing options. Others believe in expanding choice and providing good alternatives from which to choose. I personally prefer using a gas stove. I also believe my natural gas heat is considerably less expensive than the electric alternative.


Relic of the Washington Elm
Circular box carved from a
piece of the Washington Elm
Washington Elm postcard

Order #4. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to direct the Arts Council and the Department of Public Works, in conjunction with the Rindge School of Technical Arts, to determine the best re-use for the four honey locust logs from Inman Square to create public art for the community.   Councillor Zondervan

Committee Report #2. 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 17, 2019 to discuss the preserved Inman Square tree trunks and receive input from the public on possible future uses of the wood, which is a public resource.

This is perhaps one of the tiniest of agenda items, but I really like the idea of using the wood from identified trees either as public art or as mementos. I have a little circular box made from the famous Washington Elm that once stood at Garden and Mason Streets. I have other pieces of that tree as well.


Order #5. That the City Manager have appropriate city staff review the proposed Welcoming Community Ordinance.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Mallon, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Siddiqui

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 Oct 2, 2019 at 3pm to discuss the Welcoming Community Ordinance.

This is basically just an updated version of the existing Sanctuary City resolution but in the form of an ordinance that specifically addresses how the Cambridge Police and other City departments should interact with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). The City Solicitor expressed that Council should be careful when limiting a police officer’s discretion to enforce laws, and I agree completely. I do find merit in Sanctuary City principles in that I certainly don’t want people to stop reporting crimes or contacting the Fire Dept. or other services out of fear of being nailed for their immigration status.


Order #7. Fuel pump warning labels.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Zondervan

Sign, sign everywhere a sign blocking out the scenery breakin my mind. Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

Order #11. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to allocate more funds in the FY21 budget to Inspectional Services to help combat the city-wide rodent issue and report back on the feasibility of providing monetary compensation to homeowners who have had to self-finance traps and what funds could be allocated in the future to help homeowners buy traps.   Councillor Toomey

What about those of us who live next to a building where the property owner (and tenants) don’t properly address their rodent infestation even after the City has been contacted, fines have been issued, and the problems persist? Getting reimbursed for partially addressing problems on an adjacent property that spills over onto your own property hardly seems like a solution.

Order #13. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Budget Department, the Assessor’s Department and the Community Development Department to consider directing a portion of future PILOT funds into the Affordable Housing Trust starting in FY21.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Zondervan

Earmarking funds in this way is generally a bad idea. Same goes for previous notions of dedicating cannabis-related funds toward purposes unrelated to its impacts. Priorities and needs change and restricting in-lieu-of-tax funds from universities to one purpose is short-sighted.

Order #15. That the City Council go on record in support of House Bill 3116, Senate Bill 2034, and the establishment of Governor Baker’s Low-speed Mobility Device Advisory Working Group as part of the Safe Driving Legislation, Senate Bill 7.   Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Siddiqui

This is a good idea and overdue. That said, if anyone thinks that electric scooters and skateboards are going to go a long way toward solving transportation needs, think again.

Order #16. Creating the Director of Arts and Culture Position.   Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Simmons

I have to seriously question the motivation for this Order. If some councillors have questions about how the Cambridge Arts Council prioritizes arts and cultural matters in the city, that’s a totally reasonable inquiry. If they believe that additional staff may be required, that’s also a reasonable thing to ask of the City Manager in the next Budget cycle. However, asking to create a highly specific "Director of Arts and Culture" position seems like these councillors are stepping way over the line into city management. Should the whole universe of how the City supports arts and culture be reviewed periodically? Absolutely, and the City Manager should regularly challenge the Arts Council and other City-supported entities (like CMAC) to be the best they can be. We currently have an especially good Executive Director of the Arts Council in Jason Weeks, and I fail to see how creating a separate and parallel position will in any way further any goals that may have been expressed as part of the recent Arts Task Force.

Order #17. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Economic Development division of the Community Development Department to retain a financial/economic analyst to conduct a confidential financial analysis of NED’s pro forma to inform the council in confidence on the value of the proposed upzoning.   Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Devereux

This may make sense in this specific case since the proponent has offered to provide this financial information, but I hope that we don’t go down the road of only approving projects after analyzing the books of the proponents. Ideally zoning should be about good planning and betterment for the city and not on how much profit is permissible in the long run.

Order #21. Proposed amendment to City Ordinance 1.12.040 regarding City Solicitor opinion on proposed ordinances.   Councillor Carlone, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Kelley, Councillor Siddiqui

I don’t know if an ordinance change is necessarily warranted in this case, but it probably is a good idea to get the City Solicitor involved earlier in some of these matters rather than head down some roads leading to a dead end. – Robert Winters

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 16, 2019

Featured Items on the Sept 16, 2019 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , , , , — Robert Winters @ 12:24 pm

Featured Items on the Sept 16, 2019 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Here’s my first pass at what I think is the interesting stuff. See below for snarky comments and enduring wisdom.City Hall

Manager’s Agenda #12. 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.

Perhaps the most important statement in the report is this: "It is also important to note that the continued success of Central Square as a vibrant and livable community hub for business, culture, and government relies on a delicate balance of different activities that go beyond transportation. Any planning related to complete streets and reconfiguring Central Square for the benefit of street users of all ages and abilities must take into account a broad range of factors and stakeholders, to avoid taking any actions that would change that balance in a negative way. We want to ensure that as we contemplate changes that serve our City goals related to promoting sustainable transportation and improving access to community resources and economic opportunities, we do not inadvertently make it more difficult to achieve other goals that we have related to Central Square."

I fully expect the velo-zealots will demand that only their concerns should be addressed and that all others should just get on board. Hopefully reason will prevail and we won’t have people boarding buses while cyclists weave through the line of passengers, or have every cyclist in town dialing up See-Click-Fix because somebody had to make a delivery and had no choice but to encroach on their turf.

Manager’s Agenda #16. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 19-69, regarding a report on the timeline and process for the Net Zero Action Plan 5-Year Review.

We all want energy efficiency but I seriously hope that the mandates don’t come crashing down on reasonable people living in older homes.


Manager’s Agenda #17. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to proposed amendments to the New Street Overlay District Zoning Petition.

Unfinished Business #7. A communication was received from Anthony Wilson, 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 26, 2019 to discuss a petition received from Self Storage Group, LLC to amend the Zoning Ordinance by creating a New Street Overlay District. ON OR AFTER AUG 18, 2019 THE QUESTION COMES ON ORDINATION

Unfinished Business #12. A communication was received from Anthony I. Wilson, City Clerk, transmitting a memorandum from Vice Mayor Devereux, regarding proposed amendments to the New Street Overlay District zoning petition.

Communications & Reports #2. A communication was received from City Clerk, Anthony I. Wilson, transmitting a memorandum from Adams and Rafferty, James J. Rafferty, P.C. regarding proposed Amendments and a related letter of Commitment for consideration by the City Council concerning the New Street Overlay Zoning Petition. The proposed Amendments consist of the addition of Sections 20.96.5 and Sections 20.96.6.

I have no particular opinion on this zoning petition, but it is worth noting that the Planning Board gave it a negative recommendation. The other thing worth noting is that it seems like standard operation procedure nowadays in Cambridge that no matter what the proposal you just promise to throw in a few "affordable housing" units and you’re good to go. Maybe even a tree or two if you still need that extra vote.


On the Table #1. A communication was received from Anthony I. Wilson, City Clerk, transmitting Part 4 of the report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Co-Chair and Councillor Craig A. Kelley, Co-Chair of the Ordinance Committee, for a reconvened public hearing held on Sept 3, 2019 to continue discussions on a proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to create an Affordable Housing Overlay District.

I hope we never have to suffer through this again but it would be naive to think this is how it will play out. The ABC zealots are already attacking "those wealthy anti-housing people" as part of their election strategy. I personally feel this matter was tabled last week primarily so that its supporters and potential supporters could weather the November election and then ram it through afterwards without fear. The fact is that it remains a shabbily crafted attempt to rewrite all of Cambridge housing policy so that policy-makers don’t have to address the general issue of affordability of housing locally and regionally.

Unfinished Business #4. 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

The Ordinance Committee hearing on this that was recessed in chaos will reconvene this Wednesday as they once again try to decide the winners in the "Who Wants to be a Millionnaire" sweepstakes.

Unfinished Business #8. 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 may finally have his chance to express his undying love for some of the least likable people anywhere.

Unfinished Business #9. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to obtain a legal opinion from the City Solicitor regarding the License Commission’s authority with regard to the issuance, denial, suspension or revocation of liquor licenses in the City of Cambridge.

Go ask Nancy. I think she’ll know.

Unfinished Business #10. A Zoning Petition has been received from Ben LoVemere regarding that the City Council ordain the Zoning language set forth relative the Alewife Quadrangle Northwest Overlay District.

Unfinished Business #11. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board report with no positive or negative recommendations on the Alexandria Grand Junction Overlay District Zoning Petition.

Unfinished Business #13. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Police Commissioner, the Cambridge Carnival Committee, and the community to organize an alternative event to take place in Cambridge on the Carnival’s rain date, that will allow vendors to sell their products and potentially recover at least some of the costs.

While I think this is a good idea, the fact that violence has followed this Carnival is not something that can be ignored, and I seriously doubt if the organizers will be compensating the City for the additional police presence.

Applications & Petitions #2. A petition was received from Christopher Schmidt, regarding Upgrade Cambridge Municipal Broadband Petition.

Show me the books. Many of us would welcome additional options for Internet and TV service, but my greatest fear is that whatever technology is used to build such a network could become obsolete the day after it’s put in place.

Order #7. That the City Council urge the MBTA to take whatever emergency measures are necessary to fast-track repairs to the elevators in the Central Square and Harvard Square MBTA stations, and to share these plans with the City Council in a timely manner.   Councillor Simmons

You can add to this the work on the new entrance to City Hall Annex at 344 Broadway. It seems that the new construction standard is to do a week of work, walk away for three weeks, then rinse and repeat. Modest scale construction projects shouldn’t take an eternity to complete. – Robert Winters

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]

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