Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

July 28, 2016

Democratic Debate for 26th Middlesex State Representative [Tim Toomey vs. Mike Connolly]

On July 21, 2016, Cambridge Community Television (CCTV) and Somerville Community Access Television (SCATV) hosted a debate between the 2 candidates for 26th Middlesex Representative district, incumbent Timothy Toomey and challenger Mike Connolly. The debate was produced and hosted by Joe Lynch, producer of Greater Somerville. Panelists included Donald Norton, publisher and editor in chief of the Somerville Times and Susana Segat, correspondent from Cambridge Community Television.



Democratic Debate for 26th Middlesex State Representative from Cambridge Community Television on Vimeo.

Democratic Debate for 2nd Middlesex Senate [Patricia Jehlen vs. Leland Cheung]

Filed under: 2016 election,Cambridge,elections — Tags: , , , , , , — Robert Winters @ 12:17 pm

On July 21, 2016, Cambridge Community Television (CCTV) and Somerville Community Access Television (SCATV) hosted a debate between the 2 candidates for the 2nd Middlesex Senate District, incumbent Patricia Jehlen and challenger Leland Cheung. The debate was produced and hosted by Joe Lynch, producer of Greater Somerville. Panelists included Donald Norton, publisher and editor in chief of the Somerville Times, Alex Ruppenthal from the Medford Transcript and wickedlocal.com, and Robert Winters, founder of the Cambridge Civic Journal.



Democratic Debate for 2nd Middlesex Senate from Cambridge Community Television on Vimeo.

May 13, 2016

Rep. Tim Toomey Kicks Off Re-Election Campaign

Filed under: elections — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 10:02 am

Tim ToomeyState Representative Tim Toomey announced today that he has officially qualified for the Democratic Primary ballot on Thursday, September 8th for re-election to the 26th Middlesex District seat representing parts of Somerville & Cambridge. Toomey submitted nearly three times the required 150 certified signatures.

Rep. Toomey is hosting a Campaign Kick Off meeting at Atwood’s Tavern, 877 Cambridge St, Cambridge on Thursday, May 19th at 7 pm and has invited everyone interested in helping in the campaign to attend. Refreshments will be served.

“I’m grateful to all of the Somerville and Cambridge residents who have again placed their faith in me to serve as their State Representative,” said Toomey. “I’m very excited to be running this year and plan to continue to lead the way in our community for better public transit options, sustainable development, fair wages and equal pay for working families, and expanded affordable housing options.”

“I look forward to continuing my work at the State House because our neighborhoods deserve a progressive State Representative who also provides outstanding constituent services to the residents of Somerville and Cambridge,” said Toomey, a lifelong resident of the district.

During his time in office, Rep. Toomey has become a well-known progressive advocate and has consistently been a voice for progressive causes at the State House. In the past year, Toomey has been an outspoken leader for single payer health care, promoting solar energy and other renewable energy sources, instituting smart criminal justice reforms, and providing rental assistance programs to help struggling low income families and people with disabilities find long-term housing solutions. He has also worked to strengthen protections for survivors of domestic violence and rape, and has been a leading voice behind efforts to expand access to drug treatment and rein in the opioid crisis.

“A lot of important work is still ahead of us,” said Toomey. “I will continue to fight for passing the Fair Share Tax Amendment, making insurance coverage mandatory for a wider variety of contraceptives, passing the Equal Pay Act, adding protections for gender identity in public accommodations and increasing funding for low income and affordable housing.”

For more information about Representative Toomey’s re-election campaign, residents are encouraged to visit www.timtoomey.org or contact Tim’s Campaign Manager, Jefferson Smith, at (978) 376-2143.

May 5, 2016

Joint Statement of Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi Regarding the Green Line Extension

Filed under: Cambridge,MBTA — Tags: , , , , , — Robert Winters @ 5:00 pm

Joint Statement of Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi Regarding the Green Line Extension

May 5, 2016

Somerville sealToday the Cities of Somerville and Cambridge Massachusetts are pleased to make this important announcement of our continued support for and commitment of new funds to bridge the funding gap that will allow the construction of the Green Line Extension Project (GLX) to move forward.

It is our understanding that MassDOT has completed its review of the GLX and developed a new cost estimate, and that on Monday, May 9, MassDOT will transmit information for review and evaluation by the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors that includes a revised budget and plans and a statement of need for municipal governments hosting the GLX to contribute funding. Based on that understanding, we are prepared to make a recommendation that our municipalities assist the state in the funding solution for this project.

We would like to thank the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the interim design team for their swift but careful scrutiny of the project plans and budget, their commitment to the inclusion of public and municipal feedback, and their diligence in developing a new strategy for moving forward. Should the FMCB approve their expected recommendation to construct the GLX, residents of the Commonwealth will reap the benefits of the team’s critical effort for decades to come.

Cambridge sealIt is our understanding, however, that without firm financial commitments from our municipalities that the GLX could be canceled and the Commonwealth would forfeit not only its $996 million federal New Starts grant award, but an estimated $700 million in “sunk costs” of the state’s $996 million share of the project. Additionally, the fulfillment of the public needs that this project was designed to meet would remain unrealized.

The purpose of the GLX is to improve regional air quality as required by legally binding resolutions, reduce roadway congestion, encourage sustainable economic growth, and provide a convenient means of public transportation for Massachusetts residents, workers and visitors. To ensure that these needs and goals do not go unmet, the cities of Cambridge and Somerville intend to seek to expand their financial partnership with the Commonwealth to construct elements of the GLX program, subject to and contingent upon approval by the Cambridge City Council and the Somerville Board of Aldermen.

It should be noted that both the cities of Cambridge and Somerville have previously invested significant funds and resources in sunken costs in support of the GLX project, including the City of Somerville’s investment of more than $8 million for land acquisition and other infrastructure, that have relieved the Commonwealth of several specific required project costs. Similarly, the developers of the North Point area are investing tens of millions of dollars in improvements that support and enable the GLX to occur. Expanding this financial partnership is an extreme and unprecedented arrangement for a state infrastructure project. Despite the fact that our cities bear no responsibility for the cost overruns that brought the GLX to this moment of crisis, we will seek to support the Commonwealth by expanding our cost-sharing role. The Green Line is that important to our communities, our region, and our state.

It is our understanding that the new cost estimate for the GLX will retain core program elements including seven light rail transit stations including a spur to Union Square, a Vehicle Maintenance Facility, a Community Path, and related utility upgrades. With that clear understanding, it is our intention as Mayor of the City of Somerville and City Manager of Cambridge to recommend to the Somerville Board of Aldermen and the Cambridge City Council that our cities commit to underwriting project costs for specific, tangible elements that would deliver meaningful public safety and quality-of-life benefits for our residents.

After discussions with the state, the needed value of new financial participation in the GLX for the City of Somerville is projected to be $50 million and the value of the City of Cambridge’s contribution is projected at $25 million, including financial contributions from the North Point developers, to close the funding gap. Again, any contribution will be subject to Board and City Council approvals.

Furthermore, it is our intention to work, alongside MAPC, with Governor Baker’s administration and the cities’ state and federal delegations to seek legislative action on new and refined “value capture” tools capable of supporting new infrastructure investments around Massachusetts. In addition, we request that the Commonwealth establish a baseline tracking framework for future Infrastructure Investment Incentive (I-Cubed) state tax revenue accruals generated by transit-oriented development around the GLX, so as to not preclude a formal application to use eligible I-Cubed revenues to offset Cambridge’s and Somerville’s proposed municipal contribution, if they choose that option.

It is clear that the Commonwealth is shifting to a new paradigm for major transportation infrastructure investments. Across the nation, many states have established predictable and equitable frameworks for local value capture financing in state transportation projects. As we work toward that goal, Somerville and Cambridge will stand with the Commonwealth to advance the state of the art. We do so with the expectation that this is truly a new precedent for statewide policy, and that our communities will not be held to higher standards than other Massachusetts municipalities seeking state and federal financing for roadway, transit or other infrastructure projects.

Additional Comment from Massachusetts Area Planning Council:

“I want to congratulate the Cities of Cambridge and Somerville for making this unprecedented municipal commitment to help fund a critical state transportation project,” said Metropolitan Area Planning Council Executive Director Marc Draisen. “The Green Line Extension will have a significant, positive impact on our region in terms of jobs created and retained, new housing units created, and increased transit access for tens of thousands of residents. Cambridge and Somerville have shown a willingness to help invest in a project that will benefit themselves and their neighboring municipalities. We applaud them and MassDOT for working together to create this opportunity to advance this project.”

November 14, 2012

Cycle track disease is contagious!

It crosses over from Cambridge to hit the slippery slope (literally) in Somerville.

Please see my extended comments here: http://john-s-allen.com/blog/?p=4862

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