Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

March 21, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 213-214: March 21, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 213 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast March 21, 2017 at 5:30pm. Topics included the State Championship victory of the CRLS Boys Basketball team, some upcoming civic events, design review of MIT-Kendall projects, and a curious zoning petition that appeared at the Mon, Mar 20 City Council meeting regarding short-term rentals. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]


Cambridge InsideOut Episode 214 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast March 21, 2017 at 6:00pm. Topics included zoning and short-term rentals, changes to the Smoking Ordinance, and the proposed changes to the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance that was passed to a 2nd Reading at the Mon, Mar 20 City Council meeting. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

[Materials used in this episode]

March 10, 2017

Paul Toner Declares Candidacy for Cambridge City Council

Filed under: 2017 election,Cambridge,City Council,elections — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 2:10 pm

Paul Toner Declares Candidacy for Cambridge City Council
Lifelong Cambridge resident, parent, education leader and activist announces run for Cambridge City Council with support of community leaders

Paul TonerMarch 10, 2017 – The Toner for City Council campaign released the following statement today:

Paul Toner is a lifelong resident of Cambridge who has chosen to live and work, as well as raise and educate his children in the city. An attorney and former Cambridge Public Schools teacher and lawyer, Paul went on to become one of the most influential public education leaders in the state as President of the 110,000 member Massachusetts Teachers Association. He is currently the Executive Director of Teach Plus Massachusetts and has served on the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Board of Directors, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and numerous education committees.

Paul Lonergan, Campaign Chairman for the Committee to Elect Paul Toner stated “I have known Paul Toner for many years. He is a good friend and great dad. He has been a proven leader in his career and the community and will bring common sense leadership to the City Council. I am proud to support him in this campaign.”

"I’ve had the privilege of working with Paul for many years on education and economic issues at the state and local level. I know he’ll work tirelessly with everyone to keep our city diverse and affordable." Said David Sullivan, North Cambridge resident and former City Councillor.

“Paul will be an incredibly effective advocate for all of Cambridge,” current City Councilor David Maher said. “Paul has spent his career bringing people together to make progress towards a vision of shared prosperity and a government that works for everyone. I know he will do the same as a City Councilor.”

Toner said “Eighteen years ago, I was David Maher’s campaign manager for his first City Council race. I know how long ago it was because my daughter was 6 months old as I toted her around the city campaigning for David. She is now 18, a senior at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School and is preparing for college in the fall.”

“Throughout my life and career as a teacher, lawyer, union leader, and public school parent, I have sought to serve my community. I see running for the City Council at this time as an extension of this work and as an opportunity to use my skills, experience, and wealth of knowledge to make a meaningful impact on the council.”

“I have seen enormous changes in our community and there are new challenges ahead. I believe I can help to bring old and new Cambridge together. Through open and respectful public discourse that is so sorely needed in our political conversations right now, we can make real progress on the challenges that we face. As a leader, I have sought to build consensus to make policy decisions based on collaboration, open dialogue, and data. I am confident that I can bring the same spirit of respect and collaboration to the council. I will work with the council members, staff, and constituents to provide the solutions-oriented leadership necessary to develop and implement a vision for our city that preserves the best of our past and prepares us for the future.”

March 9, 2017

Sean Tierney Announces Candidacy for Cambridge City Council

Filed under: 2017 election,Cambridge,City Council,elections — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 6:09 pm

Sean Tierney for Cambridge City CouncilSean TierneyThurs, Mar 9, 2017 – Sean Tierney announced today his candidacy for Cambridge City Council. Mr. Tierney is the Research Director & Legal Counsel for the Joint Committee on Housing for the Massachusetts State Legislature. In his announcement, Mr. Tierney highlighted his housing and public policy experience as crucial attributes that he would bring to the Council.

“I want to use my experience as a housing policy attorney to help Cambridge adequately address our housing needs. I am committed to developing city policies that help our longtime residents stay in our neighborhoods. I also recognize the profound need for new housing options for all income levels. This is a challenging issue for Cambridge. We must work together, but we must also partner with our municipal neighbors to confront our housing shortage as a regional crisis,” Mr. Tierney said.

In an email and Facebook message to supporters, Mr. Tierney credited his Cambridge upbringing for defining his values, political philosophy, and commitment to the Cambridge community.

“I am a proud graduate of the Cambridge Public Schools and continue to volunteer as a football coach for the Falcons. At Cambridge Rindge and Latin we were taught the importance of our high school’s motto: “opportunity, diversity, and respect.” We learned to recognize gaps in opportunity and understand the roots of inequality and privilege; to celebrate our differences, and treat each other with compassion and dignity; to question the status quo and to believe that through hard work, dedication, and consensus, we can always do better. These are the core values that drive my candidacy,” Mr. Tierney said.

Mr. Tierney began his career working at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics where he ran the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum. The Tierney campaign highlighted their candidate’s dedication to public service:

  • Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Teaching Fellow, City on a Hill High School in Roxbury.
  • Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy, Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.
  • Legal Intern, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice.
  • Cambridge Ward 9 Delegate, 2014 State Democratic Convention.
  • Fellow, New Leaders Council, a training program for progressive Millenials.
  • Deputy Legal Counsel, Committee on Revenue at Massachusetts Legislature.
  • Research Director & Legal Counsel, Committee on Housing at Massachusetts Legislature.

Mr. Tierney hopes to weave Cambridge’s rich history with the exciting possibilities of the city’s growing economy. He is committed to fostering pipelines of opportunity for all residents by leveraging our universities and the innovation economy.

“I believe that our diverse history and shared values will guide us as we work together to make Cambridge an inclusive and world-class city for generations. As city councilor, I will honor this history and represent our shared future,” Tierney said.

In his announcement, Mr. Tierney summed up his campaign in one sentence, “This is who I am, and this is what this campaign is all about: The City of Cambridge.”

Contact: 857-217-4236


Sean Tierney for Cambridge City CouncilStatement from Sean Tierney, Candidate for Cambridge City Council

My name is Sean Tierney and I am running for Cambridge City Council. I am a lifelong Cambridge resident, a volunteer in our community, and a housing policy attorney for the State Legislature. As your next city councilor, I will use my public policy experience and my passion for Cambridge to build a future for all city residents.

A Dedication to Public Service

I began my professional career working at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. I hosted national and international leaders and learned about the importance of strong and effective leadership. Inspired by President Kennedy’s famous words that an “educated citizen has an obligation to serve the public,” I decided to attend law school with the goal of serving my community.

In law school, I committed myself to public service opportunities. I taught Constitutional Law and coached a moot court team at City on a Hill High School in Roxbury, researched election law issues for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, and served as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. Now, as a licensed attorney, I develop affordable housing policy for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

I hope to continue on my path as a public servant for our city.

A Pro-Housing Agenda

I want to use my experience as a housing policy attorney to help Cambridge adequately address our housing needs. I am committed to developing city policies that help our longtime residents stay in our neighborhoods. I also recognize the profound need for new housing options for all income levels. This is a challenging issue for Cambridge. We must work together, but we must also partner with our municipal neighbors to confront our housing shortage as a regional crisis.

Cambridge Values

I am a proud graduate of the Cambridge Public Schools and continue to volunteer as a football coach for the Falcons. At Cambridge Rindge and Latin, we were taught the importance of our high school’s motto: “opportunity, diversity, and respect.” We learned to recognize gaps in opportunity and understand the roots of inequality and privilege; to celebrate our differences, and treat each other with compassion and dignity; to question the status quo and to believe that through hard work, dedication, and consensus, we can always do better. These are the core values that drive my candidacy.

A Commitment to Community

Sean TierneyCambridge is many things to many people. It is a new and exciting place centered around our universities, life sciences, and technology sector. It’s also a community with deep roots, family ties, and streets that are neighborhoods.

To me, Cambridge is also a place where friendships are forged on our athletic fields and in our classrooms; it’s playing on Huron Ave. and sleepovers on Western. It’s an afternoon in Jefferson Park and a night in Harvard Square. It’s S&S wings, Coast Café, Angelo’s cheese fries, Izzy’s, and a slice at Armando’s. It’s 1369 coffee, Memorial Drive on Sunday afternoons, and the graffiti wall on Modica Way. It’s Hoyt Field, Gold Star Pool, and a walk around Fresh Pond. It’s helping your neighbor shovel snow and finding a gift of Haitian griot and pikliz at your door. It’s art, it’s style, it’s individuality, and at the same time it’s community.

I believe that our diverse history and shared values will guide us as we work together to make Cambridge an inclusive and world-class city for generations. As city councilor, I will honor this history and represent our shared future.

This is who I am and this is what this campaign is all about: The City of Cambridge.

I look forward to meeting you and hearing your story.


March 7, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 211-212: March 7, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 211 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on March 7, 2017 at 5:30pm. Topics included upcoming Cambridge events and new candidates for City Council and School Committee. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]


Cambridge InsideOut Episode 212 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on March 7, 2017 at 6:00pm. The main topics were items discussed at the Mar 6 Cambridge City Council meeting – with a little special attention to Peter Valentine. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

[Materials used in this episode]

February 22, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 207-208: February 21, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 207 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Feb 21, 2017 at 5:30pm. Topics included the potential effect of national politics on the Cambridge municipal elections, the current minibond sale, and the recent update by MIT about plans for the Volpe site. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]


Cambridge InsideOut Episode 208 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Feb 21, 2017 at 6:00pm. Topics included the recent Roundtable meeting of the School Committee and City Council, the current field of candidates in the Cambridge municipal election, and some highlights from the Feb 13 Cambridge City Council meeting, especially the discussion of Inclusionary Zoning and Planned Unit Developments (PUDs). The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

[Materials used in this episode]

February 21, 2017

Black ice blindness

Snowmelt drains across "protected" bikeway on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge

Snowmelt drains across “protected” bikeway on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge

The photo is of a stretch of barrier-separated bikeway recently installed on the north side of Massachusetts Avenue between Sidney Street and Douglass Street in Cambridge. The headline of the February 17, 2017 Boston Globe article with this picture is “Snowbank becomes accidental hero for area cyclists”.

But — the shiny area in the bikeway is meltwater from said snowbank. When the temperature drops, the water freezes into a sheet of black ice. The usual drainage techniques don’t work here because, if you will excuse me for belaboring the obvious, the “hero barrier’ is uphill and water runs downhill. I discussed bikeway drainage issues in more detail recently in a post on another blog and years ago in connection with the 9th Avenue bikeway in Manhattan. Just to make it clear, I do have  nice things to say about other features of the 9th Avenue bikeway.

Neither Steve Annear, author of the Globe article, nor anyone quoted in it, makes any mention of the black-ice problem. They are all enthusiastic about the snow-barrier.

From the article: “I like this snowbank-protected cycle track,” Ari Ofsevit, a local cyclist, said on Twitter.

Ari is more than just a “local cyclist”. He widely, imaginatively and thoughtfully discusses transportation improvements his blog. I usually agree with him, except when he turns a blind eye to problems with barrier-separated on-street bikeways.

The article cites Joe Barr. Director of Traffic, Parking, and Transportation for the City of Cambridge:

Barr acknowledged that the snow mound separating the bike lane and the road has offered a sense of protection to cyclists, but he said it could also be masking damage to the base of the flexible posts.

“We won’t know that until we get some more melting. But it certainly looks good on the street,” he said.

And Richard Fries, Executive Director of the massachusretts Bicycle Coalition, commented:

It’s great. It won’t last that much longer, but it does help to hammer into people’s heads [road] patterns and driving habits,” he said. “Because it’s there, it makes the existing bike lane more visible to drivers and more prominent.

Segregation promotes a sense of entitlement on the part of the majority group –in this case, motorists. How do I explain to horn-honking motorists that I have to ride my bicycle in “their” travel lane, now narrowed to make room for the barrier, to avoid crashing on a sheet of black ice?

Or for that matter, to travel at my usual 15 miles per hour so I’m not stuck behind a cluster of bicyclists who are traveling at 8 miles per hour?

Or to avoid being right-hooked and crushed under the back wheels by a right-turning truck where the bikeway ends at Douglass Street?

Just asking.

February 7, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 205-206: February 7, 2017

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge InsideOut — Tags: , , , , — Robert Winters @ 10:26 pm

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 205 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast February 7, 2017 at 5:30pm. Topics included the Patriots’ dramatic come-from-behind Super Bowl win, events in DC, civic opportunities, and a partial recap of the Feb 6 Cambridge City Council meeting. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]


Cambridge InsideOut Episode 206 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast February 7, 2017 at 6:00pm. Topics included a partial recap of the Feb 6 Cambridge City Council meeting and some unfinished matters that may soon be acted on. We also took another look at the roster of possible candidates for the 2017 Cambridge municipal election. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

[Materials used in this episode]

January 4, 2017

Alanna Mallon Announces Run For Cambridge City Council

Filed under: 2017 election,Cambridge,City Council,elections — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 10:58 am

Founder of the Cambridge Weekend Backpack Program will run in November.

Jan 4, 2017 – As we enter this New Year and all that it promises to bring, I am excited and energized to declare myself as a candidate for Cambridge City Council this November.

Alanna MallonI was born and raised in Massachusetts, and I moved to Cambridge with my husband in the summer of 2004 and we are proud to call Cambridge home. We have two children, a third and sixth grader, both of whom have been enrolled in the Cambridge Public School system since they were in Junior Kindergarten. In 2013 as an active participant in our school community and civic life as a Cambridge resident, I became aware that food insecurity was a barrier for academic success for many of our students. This realization was a call to action, and I became determined to ensure that my childrens’ classmates had their basic needs met and could capitalize on the incredible CPS curriculum at every grade level.

I founded the Cambridge Weekend Backpack Program to address the needs of food-insecure students, but also to connect their families to other vital resources that are available in our community. This critical work was so important to me, that I left the private sector to focus on it full time. For the last three years I have passionately dedicated my life to working on issues of food insecurity in Cambridge and I have had the privilege and pleasure of helping schools, families, the business community and concerned residents form a partnership to help our students succeed.

For the past year, I have been a Program Director at Food For Free, working closely on issues of food insecurity in Cambridge not just for students, but for various vulnerable populations in Cambridge and the Greater Boston area. Through this work, I have come to realize that there is a link between the resources and services that residents need: affordable housing, access to high quality day care and early education opportunities, mental health and human services, and many more. I am truly energized at the thought of working on these linked issues for our residents and using my skills to build broad coalitions of support to find meaningful solutions to the complex issues and challenges that face our community members.

As Mayor David Maher’s Education Liaison for two years (2015-2016), I observed that dedicated public service combined with strategic public policy can be an effective tool to change our residents’ lives for the better. Our elected leaders have the power to impact how our funds are spent and where to direct our collective energies. Our city has a great many resources, but many who live here are facing significant challenges and their needs are not being met. We must work to ensure that those resources can be directed to those who may not have a voice in decision making.

It’s become clear after the national election that much of the important and critical governing work in the coming years will happen at the state and local levels. I also strongly feel that there need to be more women in government at every level, bringing their unique experiences and voices to policy decisions. These things combined with the damaging political rhetoric of the past year crystallized my decision to seek office in November. Given my experience, knowledge of our governing systems, and relationships with community partners, the time is right for me to bring these unique experiences to the Cambridge City Council. As City Councilor, I will work tirelessly to ensure that all city residents, including our most at risk, get the representation that they need and deserve at the highest level. My experience over the last few years has affirmed that the City of Cambridge is unparalleled in its focus on the needs of our most vulnerable residents, but that there is so much more that we can, and must do.

I love working, living, and raising my children in this city. I am inspired by my friends, neighbors, and colleagues who, through their daily efforts in the neighborhoods of Cambridge, make our city a better place to live and work. There is no place I’d rather be at this moment in history, and it would be a privilege to serve as a City Councilor.

Alanna Mallon

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