Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

June 6, 2019

Catching Up on the Cambridge News – June 6, 2019

Celebrate Fresh Pond Day Saturday, June 15

Fresh Pond sunsetJoin the Cambridge Water Department at its annual Fresh Pond Day on Saturday, June 15, from 11am–3pm, to celebrate Fresh Pond Reservation. Fresh Pond Reservation is truly Cambridge’s green gem – an urban wild that protects Fresh Pond, Cambridge’s in-city drinking water reservoir. Fresh Pond Day serves as an annual community tribute to this unique Reservation that is a vital natural resource, an invaluable sanctuary for wildlife, and a beloved recreational escape in the city. This event is free and open to all; all dogs must be leashed.

Fresh Pond Day events will be at and around the Walter J. Sullivan Water Treatment Facility, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway, Cambridge. Use of public transit and bicycles to get to the event is strongly encouraged. Bus routes 72, 74, 75, 78; & Alewife T are all nearby. Visitors arriving by car are asked to park at the Tobin School on 197 Vassal Lane.

Fresh Pond Day 2018Events Schedule
11:00am-2:00pm   Learn to Stilt Walk
11:00am-3:00pm   Open House of the Water Treatment Plant
11:00am-2:15pm   Live Music from Allston Rock Records
2:30pm-3:00pm   Global Water Dance Performance
11:00am-3:00pm   Free bike tune-ups and bike rodeo; learn about pond life animals with Nature Knowledge for Kids; Junior Ranger badge activities; learn how to fix a leak

Peruse our community tables to learn more from various city departments and local organizations involved in sustainability and outdoor recreation.

Please note that rain or extreme weather cancels this event. For more information, visit or contact Ranger Tim at 617-349-6489,

Future of First Street Garage Community Meeting, June 19

The City of Cambridge is holding a community meeting on Wednesday, June 19 at 6:30pm at the Kennedy-Longfellow School, 158 Spring St., Cambridge to provide the community with an update on the status of the proposed disposition of a leasehold interest in 420 unassigned parking spaces and approximately 9,000 square feet of ground floor area intended for retail use in the City-owned First Street Garage property located at 55 First Street.City Seal

The meeting will include a summary of the LMP GP Holdings LLC’s disposition proposal received by the city and an update on the First Street Area Parking Planning Study commissioned by the city’s Director of Traffic, Parking, and Transportation in connection with the proposed disposition. The city is seeking the public’s input on the proposed leasehold disposition of 420 unassigned parking spaces and approximately 9,000 square feet of ground floor retail space in the First Street Garage.

You can learn more or sign-up for email updates about the First Street Garage at

Following the June 19 community meeting, public hearings will be conducted at the Planning Board and City Council in accordance with the provisions of the city’s disposition ordinance, Chapter 2.110 of the Cambridge Municipal Code. A City Council vote will be required in order to approve of the proposed disposition of the leasehold interest. State law (G. L. Chapter 30B) also requires that when public land or property is disposed of, proposals must be solicited from interested buyers prior to selecting a buyer. The city issued a Request for Proposals pertaining to the proposed leasehold interest, and conditionally awarded the proposed leasehold interest to LMP GP Holdings LLC subject to the process that must be conducted pursuant to the disposition ordinance and the vote of the City Council on the proposed disposition.

For additional information, please contact Lee Gianetti, Director of Communications, at 617-349-3317 or

Cambridge Open Archives

Dive into the tangled history of Cambridge politics and social activism at 7 local archives from June 24-28, 2019.

Archivists at each site will share treasures from their collections – photographs, art, posters, letters – that tell complex and unique stories about dynamic politicians and dedicated activists; fights over highways and development schemes; a strong mayor vs. Plan E.

See what an archive is, find out what archivists do all day, and see how you can use these resources to learn more about your family and community.

This year’s participating archives:

MIT Museum

The Cambridge Room at the Cambridge Public Library

Harvard Semitic Museum

Harvard Art Museums Archives

Cambridge Historical Commission

Cambridge Historical Society

Mount Auburn Cemetery


Info here:

This event is free but registration is required.

Questions? 617-349-4070 or

City of Cambridge Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day June 8

The second Household Hazardous Waste collection day of 2019 will take place on Saturday, June 8, from 9:00am-1:00pm, at Danehy Park, Field St lot (enter at Field & Fern St). This event is free and open to Cambridge residents (proof of Cambridge residency required).

Proper disposal of materials helps protect public health and environment. A list of accepted items can be found at

Not sure how to dispose of items properly? Download the “Zero Waste Cambridge” app for iPhone/Android or visit to use the “Get Rid of It Right” search tool.

Accepted Items:
Batteries: Vehicle & Non-Alkaline
Car Fluids: Antifreeze, Brake, Engine Degreaser, Transmission
Car Tires (max four per household)
Chemicals: Cleaners, Glues, Removers, Photography & Swimming PoolCity Seal
Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Mercury Items: Thermometers & Thermostats
Paints: Oil-Based & Latex
Poisons: Insecticides, Pesticides & Weed Killers
Prescription Medicines (also accepted year-round at Police Dept. 125 Sixth St)
Propane Cylinders (20 lbs. or less only)
Waste Fuels: Antifreeze, Gasoline, Kerosene, Sterno & Motor Oil (motor oil accepted year-round)

Items NOT Accepted:
NO Alkaline Batteries
NO Ammunition, Fireworks & Explosives (call Fire Dept. at 617-349-3300)
NO Asbestos (requires proper disposal)
NO Bleach or Ammonia
NO Commercial/Industrial Waste
NO Construction Debris
NO Empty Aerosol Cans
NO Compressed Gas Cylinders
NO Infectious or Biological Waste
NO Radioactive Waste
NO Smoke Detectors
NO Syringes (call Health Department at 617-665-3848)

Come help us celebrate the 40th Annual Boston Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival on Sunday, June 9th, 2019, from 12:00-5:00pm rain or shine! The Boston Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is the oldest dragon boat festival in North America, founded in 1979.

Dragon BoatsLocated by John W. Weeks Foot Bridge on the Charles River between JFK Avenue and Western Avenue, this year’s festival will feature a record 76 teams, with over 1500 paddlers, from all over Massachusetts, New England the US and Canada, competing in ten categories designated with special races and medals for the Colleges including Financial Institutions, Corporate, Health Care, College, Chinese University Alumni, Women’s, Club, Community and Recreational and Cancer Survivors Divisions.

Spectators will be able to watch brightly colored, 39 foot, Hong Kong style dragon boats as they race on a 500-meter course up the Charles River from the Western Avenue Bridge to the Weeks Footbridge.

The Dragon Boat Races start in the early morning and the cultural programs and festival will begin at 12 Noon. All programs are free and family friendly for visitors. Sponsors, founders, dignitaries and committee members will dot the eyes of the dragon head on each boat in a traditional Eye-dotting Ceremony. This is an ancient Chinese ceremony that is believed to enable the dragon to soar with the utmost power. The Eye-dotting Ceremony will take place at Noon at the docks on Boston side with the accompaniment of a traditional Chinese waist drum dance that will progress over the John W. Weeks Footbridge to open the festival.

The Eye-dotting Ceremony will be followed by cultural programs, demonstrations and performances in the festival tent on the Cambridge side. There will be traditional Chinese music, Chinese Yoyo performance, Filipino, Chinese and Indian Dance performances, Korean Tae Kwon-Do presentation, as well as returning favorites such as Dragon and Lion Dances, Chinese martial arts and traditional Japanese Taiko drumming.

This year there is a special treat that cannot be missed. A special delegation from Longquan China, seven celadon masters with UNESCO intangible cultural heritage status, will demonstrate the making of this ancient ceramic art. This group has also donated a new Dragon Boat to our fleet.

We will bring to visitors interactive cultural demonstrations. Join in a Taiji demonstration on the banks of Charles by Storrow Drive, try your own lion dance with Gunkwok Lion Dance Troupe or give square-dancing a try.

Visitors young and old will find fun, inspiration and cultural engagement with beautiful hands-on Chinese arts and crafts. Come also to sample various Asian foods featuring Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese and more lining the side of Memorial Drive.

The Boston Dragon Boat Festival is sponsored in part by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, State Street, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Eastern Bank and South Cove Community Health Center, Greater Boston Chinese Culture Association, Cambridge Arts Council, Longquan China and Boston Dragon Boat Festival Committee.

Traditionally held on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month (late May to mid June on the solar calendar), the Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the life and death of Qu Yuan (340-278 BCE). A political leader of State of Chu, Qu Yuan is recognized as China’s first distinguished poet. Qu Yuan lost the king’s favor and was banished from his home state of Chu because of his opposition to the prevalent policy of compromise to the powerful state of Qin. In exile, he wrote the poem, “Encountering Sorrow,” which shows a great loyalty to his state and its people. In 278 BCE, Qu Yuan learned the news that Chu had been conquered by Qin. Heart broken, he drowned himself in the Mi Lo River. The people of Chu rushed to the river to rescue him. Too late to save Qu Yuan, they splashed furiously and threw zong-zi (traditional rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves) into the river as a sacrifice to his spirit and to keep the fish away from his body.

Today, Dragon Boat Festivals and races are popular around the world. The first Dragon Boat Festival in the United States was held in Boston in 1979, the first in North America. It is now the largest Asian cultural festival in New England. The Boston festival is used as a vehicle to promote Asian cultures and dragon boat racing, as well as to bring diverse communities together in Boston and the surrounding areas. Every year, more than 20,000 people lined the banks of the Charles to enjoy the festivities and performances.


Dragon Boats

Friday, June 28

5:30pm   Tom Magliozzi Commemorative Plaque Dedication "Hahvahd Squayah"  (DeGuglielmo Plaza, 27 Brattle Street)

Following the unveiling of the plaque, Ray Magliozzi will be on hand to say a few words, along with Car Talk producer Doug Berman, and other Cambridge dignitaries. Denise Jillson, executive director for the Harvard Square Business Association said, “We invite folks to come for the commemoration and stay for dinner and an after-party. A complimentary Italian supper of pasta and meatballs will be served family-style on red and white checkered table cloths for as long as it lasts. In true Magliozzi fashion, dancing is encouraged and hip-swinging, toe-tapping, hand-clapping music will be provided by the Blue Suede Boppers! A festive beer garden sponsored by the Beat Brew Hall will add to the celebration. Brattle Street, between Eliot and Church will be closed for the event.  A vintage ’56 Chevy (Tom’s favorite vehicle) will be on hand for viewing and photo-ops and for those who dare, an open mic will be available for sharing favorite Car Talk stories!”

7:00pm-11:00pm   City Dance Party  (Mass Ave. – from Prospect St. to Lee St.) will be Closed to Traffic (6pm to midnight) but Open for Dancing!)

City Dance Party, Friday, June 28 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 annual Dance Party Friday, June 28, from 7-11pm. This event is free and open to the public. Take MBTA Red Line to Central Square and a short walk to City Hall!

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.

Originally conceived in 1996 as part of the 150th anniversary celebration of Cambridge, the Dance Party returns each year attracting young and old to join in the festivities! The event is free and open to the public.

TRAFFIC IMPACTS: Massachusetts Avenue will be closed to traffic, from Prospect St. to Lee St. from approximately 6pm – Midnight. MBTA #1 Bus Line will reroute between Central Square and Harvard Square from approximately 6pm – Midnight and there will be no stop at City Hall.

For more information, contact Maryellen Carvello at 617-349-4301 or

City Dance Party - photo by Kyle Klein

May 12, 2019

Preview – May 13, 2019 Cambridge City Council meeting

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , , , , — Robert Winters @ 10:34 pm

Preview – May 13, 2019 Cambridge City Council meeting

City HallHere are a few items that might be of interest (or not):

Manager’s Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-139, regarding the possibility of planting a tree at the corner of Inman Street and Massachusetts Avenue, directly in front of City Hall.

This responds to a City Council Order that sought to "make a statement" by planting a prominent tree in front of City Hall. There are, of course, other statements that might go along with that gesture. As the response notes: "the area on the east lawn in front of City Hall has become an increasingly popular with families and neighbors who enjoy the afternoon and evening sun. Finally, there are concerns that the planting of an additional tree in front of a landmark building would obscure the view of City Hall and detract from the restoration of the landscaping that occurred during the 2000s."

Active use is a statement. Historic preservation and restoration are also statements. I would say that our esteemed Public Works Commissioner has offered a rather perfect remedy to plant one tree at the corner and three along the Inman Street side of City Hall – an otherwise forgettable patch of lawn that could use some dressing up. I’m sure former Councillor Born (who spearheaded the restoration of the area in front of City Hall two decades ago) will approve.

Communications #1. Written Protest to the zoning petition filed by Stephen R. Karp, Trustee of Cambridgeside Galleria Associates Trust (c/o New England Development), to amend the Zoning Ordinance by adding a Section 13.100 that creates a new PUD-8 District and to amend the Zoning Map by adding the new PUD-8 District, which District would include the property located at 100 Cambridgeside Place (currently zoned in the Business A and PUD-4 Districts).

This degree of protest may well cause this petition to require 7 of 9 votes to pass – a steep hill to climb. Perhaps if the petition were amended to replace the Cambridgeside Galleria with 100% subsidized housing it would sail through. Perhaps a local socialist State Representative would even get on board since it would involve smashing capitalism. I expect we may simply see some alteration of the proposed development, e.g. some height reductions.

Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Community Development Department, Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and Department of Public Works to determine what facilities, parking changes, and other improvements to the pavement conditions would be necessary and feasible to make Massachusetts Avenue a quick-build Complete Street between Sidney Street and Putnam Avenue.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Carlone

Do elected officials even bother any more to confer with the various stakeholders, e.g. business owners, transit agencies and their passengers, delivery vehicles? Or does it all come down to sucking up to social media savvy interest groups in a municipal election year? At the very least I would have expected the City Council Order to look more holistically at the parallel streets as part of any plan for better accommodating all vehicles passing through this part of Cambridge.

Order #3. City Council support of special commission to recommend changes to the seal and motto of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.   Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor CarloneGreat Seal of Massachusetts

I’ll repeat what I wrote 3 years ago when this last came up: Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the subject: ‘The seal was adopted by the Provincial Congress on Dec 13, 1780. The shield depicts an Algonquian Native American with bow and arrow; the arrow is pointed downward, signifying peace. A white star with five points appears next to the figure’s head. A blue ribbon (blue, signifying the Blue Hills of Quincy, Canton and Milton) surrounds the shield, bearing the state motto "Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem" This comes from the Book of Mottoes in the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen, Denmark; written about 1659 by Algernon Sydney, English soldier and politician. It was adopted in 1775 by the Provincial Congress and the literal translation is, "With a sword, she seeks quiet peace under liberty." Although the looser English translation more commonly used is, "By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty." Above the shield is the state military crest: a bent arm holding a broadsword aloft. The sword has its blade up, to remind that it was through the American Revolution that independence was won."

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to work with relevant departments to explore establishing a partnership between the City of Cambridge and the MBTA to offer CharlieCards at certain public buildings throughout the city.   Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Siddiqui

Better yet – consult with the MBTA to have ATM-like CharlieCard charging stations in stores everywhere so that people can put money on their cards before they board a bus or enter a T station. The availability of cards is the easy part.

Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Department of Public Works to work with the Recycling Advisory Committee and other stakeholders to draft an ordinance banning single-use plastic items in Cambridge.   Councillor Zondervan, Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui

One bit of advice — this time consider heeding the advice of the Advisory Committee and don’t make changes on the fly at a committee hearing. Even better, spend some time learning about the recycling industry – from recovery of materials through the end markets. Recycling is as much about practicality as it is about idealism, and getting out too far ahead of the curve can often be counterproductive.

Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Electrical Department, Department of Public Works, Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and the Community Development Department to explore a pilot for Level 1 (110V) EV and Micromobility charging stations on street light poles throughout the city.   Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui

I’m sure maintenance won’t be an issue nor will vandalism. Yeah, right.

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Government Operations, Rules & Claims Committee, for a public hearing held on Apr 10, 2019 to discuss the possibility of pursuing a home rule petition to lower the voting age in City elections to 16 years old.

Trade in those diapers for ballots! Seriously, even though age thresholds are pretty arbitrary I have not yet heard a convincing argument in favor of this change. As one person at this hearing pointed out – if a 16-year old can vote can he/she also run as a candidate? Would he/she need parental permission to be a candidate? In any case, the age for voting eligibility should be the same throughout the Commonwealth, so if anyone is so hot about this issue they should talk directly to the State Legislature. – Robert Winters

March 17, 2011

East Cambridge Planning Team meeting and presentation by the East Cambridge Open Space Trust – Wed, March 23, 7:00pm

Filed under: East Cambridge — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 10:35 am

Wed, Mar 23

7:00pm   East Cambridge Planning Team meeting and presentation by the East Cambridge Open Space Trust  (East End House, 105 Spring Street)

What would you do if you had the funds to acquire or improve open space in your neighborhood? That’s what the trustees of the East Cambridge Open Space Trust are asking Photo of sculpture at Lopez Avenue Community Garden by Mark Jaquithour neighbors. The Trust is custodian of a fund dedicated to that purpose. The trust was formed as part of the settlement of legal action over public amenities provided with the development of what was known as Cambridge Research Park. No longer known by that name or owned by the original developer, it is the area south of Binney Street. and east of Third Street. including the Genzyme building, Watermark apartments, and the Kendall Skating rink.

Money was given to the trust based on the number of square feet in the buildings in the development. Most of the money expected from the settlement has been paid to the trust and we are ready to begin deciding how we can do the most for our neighborhood. That’s where we need your help. We want to know what you want in your neighborhood. Is it a new pocket park, playground, park benches, planters, public art,or something else? We have lots of ideas, but we want to know what you want. The money can only be spent on open space projects in East Cambridge. That means the part of Cambridge bounded by the Grand Junction tracks to the west, the Somerville and Boston borders to the north, the Charles River to the east. and Main Street to the south. If you live here, or even if you don’t, we would like your ideas about how to improve the area.

We don’t have enough money to buy and build a big new park, but maybe we could work with the city to make that happen. We might be able to buy a small plot and make a nice little area, but working with partners such as our city government might make a big difference and we would love to make the fund go farther.

We will be making a presentation to the East Cambridge Planning Team at their meeting at East End House, 105 Spring Street, on Wed, March 23 at 7:00pm. We will ask attendees to write down their ideas for us to add them to ours for consideration. You may also contribute your suggestion on our blog site. [CCTV announcement]
[This announcement was contributed by Mark Jaquith, Chairman, Board of Trustees, East Cambridge Open Space Trust]

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