It’s the Eve of The Count – the night before the 2013 Municipal Election, and there’s no getting around the fact that there will be some nervous energy flowing through the Sullivan Chamber. Some activists would have preferred to have a controversial issue or two voted at the 11th hour which might sway some voters, but this is not the case. There are, however, a few noteworthy items on what has traditionally been a short agenda on the eve of an election.
Manager’s Agenda #2. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of Mr. Owen O’Riordan as Public Works Commissioner effective Nov 1, 2013.
Manager’s Agenda #3. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of Mr. Stephen J. Lenkauskas as City Electrician for the City of Cambridge effective Nov 1, 2013.
Manager’s Agenda #4. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of Ms. Andrea Spears Jackson as the full time License Commission Chair for the City of Cambridge, effective Dec 9, 2013.
The Rossi Administration continues to take shape with a trio of excellent appointments.
Manager’s Agenda #5. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a proposed Home Rule Petition which would provide an exception to the residency preference requirement for Cambridge police officer and fire fighter appointments for those high school graduates who were Cambridge residents at the time of graduation from high school.
Though I’m not entirely familiar with the background of this, it seems to be a simple case of fairness.
Resolution #28. Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox on the occasion of becoming Major League Baseball’s World Series Champions. Councillor Toomey
We approve of this Resolution unanimously (and the crowd roared its approval).
Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to consult with City personnel regarding the enforcement of rules and regulations governing bicycle riding, mandatory white lights on bicycles, and data collection of injuries resulting from cyclist-pedestrian conflicts. Vice Mayor Simmons
Let’s make a list of some of the laws we would like to see actually enforced in Cambridge. I completely agree that cyclists must obey the same laws as motorists or pay the consequences, but I would also aggressively fine people who park their cars more than a foot from the curb (very unkind to cyclists) and motorists who "block the box" causing traffic congestion. It’s not exactly martial law when police and parking control officers simply enforce existing, sensible laws.
Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council on the report of the net direct debt per capita which lists Cambridge as one of ten cities with the highest amount of net direct debt per capita; specifically how this report should be interpreted and what this means for Cambridge, now and in the future. Councillor Cheung
I read something about this the other day. I don’t think it’s an issue of great concern, but am looking forward to the response.
Order #8. That the City Manager is requested to appoint a special committee, to be comprised of both City Councillors and of Cambridge residents, to take up the work of holding monthly conversations about the lessons learned from the Malvina Monteiro lawsuit, and about how the City can improve upon its internal handling of race and class matters as an employer, beginning as of the start of the next calendar year. Vice Mayor Simmons
The Vice Mayor has been hosting meetings on this topic for some time, and dissenting opinions (like mine) were greeted with flagrant hostility by some of the attendees. In accordance with the City’s Plan E Charter, this is a matter properly handled within the Personnel Department with the guidance of appropriate City Council Orders directed through the City Manager. If the next City Council chooses to again take up this matter in one of its standing committees, they are free to do so.
Communications & Reports from City Officers #1. A communication was received from Mayor Henrietta Davis transmitting to the City Council an Open Meeting Law Complaint from Charles Teague together with a proposed City Council response to the Attorney General, prepared by the City Clerk in consultation with the City Solicitor, for the City Council’s review and approval. [HTML version of draft response]
The bottom line is simply this: Mr. Teague wants the City Council to be compelled to take the following actions in response to his allegations: 1) admit intentional violation of Open Meeting Law on April 8, 2013 which led to the failure of the "Net Zero Emissions Amendment" (NZEA) to MIT’s zoning petition; 2) order correction of Zoning Ordinance by including the NZEA as Davis’ first vote was legal, her change of her vote was not legal, and therefore cannot be honored. MIT can simply file another zoning petition to remove the NZEA; and 3) not appoint Councillors Maher & Reeves as chairs of any committees for the next two-year term.
A few observations: Anyone who was at that public meeting witnessed the very public response of the MIT representatives when this 11th hour amendment was introduced. There was nothing secret about it. They simply alerted the City Council that their "memorandum of understanding" (which was the basis upon which the votes of several city councillors depended) would be null and void if the NZEA was approved. In response, Mayor Davis chose to very publicly rescind her vote for that amendment so that the zoning petition would be voted favorably in accordance with the many concessions that had been made during months of negotiation. She took the time to very carefully explain her actions at that time. Some activists did not like the outcome, so they took issue with the procedures. Teague’s Remedy #2 is especially comical in that he wants that single amendment to now be made law without regard to the rather obvious fact that the whole zoning petition may have failed had it been included. Simply noting that "MIT can simply file another zoning petition to remove the NZEA" ignores the fact that it would require a 2/3 majority to do so. Teague’s Remedy #3 simply proves what an arrogant fool Mr. Teague is (as if this was ever in doubt). – Robert Winters