City Council Updates, Municipal Broadband, and More

Senator Lydia Edwards roasts Senator Sal DiDomenico... I'm in the background sitting next to my colleague, Councillor McGovern


Happy March! This past week I enjoyed a wonderful play at Central Square Theater – ALMA – I definitely recommended it! The small theater setting is optimal for being drawn into the play, and the two leads are phenomenal. The play centers on a mother and daughter – Mexican Americans – and different visions of a future. As we are able to safely be in person, the arts are something to celebrate and support. The theater requires all attendees to wear masks, which I appreciated. And dinner before in Central Square was a great thing to do. I’ve not been out much, so it was great to spend time in the Square.

Last night I attended an event hosted by Sen. Sal DiDomenico, who has led efforts on so many important issues in the legislature. I was thrilled to be behind the head table, which was comprised of the state’s leadership, which is ALMOST ALL WOMEN!! The Governor, Lt. Governor, State Auditor, Attorney General, and Senate President were all at the head table – a powerful female leadership group.

And this morning I attended the retirement party for Water Department Director Sam Corda and learned about his career and events over his three decades in Cambridge. Our infrastructure improvements have helped our water supply and recreational space at the Fresh Pond reservation.

Next week’s council meeting will be a roundtable on municipal broadband update. I have been working on this issue since before I was elected to the council and will continue to advocate for this critical infrastructure. The meeting is on zoom, so I hope you will listen… and support the initiative.

Last week I asked about Harriet Jacobs’ connection to Cambridge: she lived here for several years after the Civil War. Next time you walk down Story Street, next to the Harvard Square Post Office, read the marker of the boarding house she ran. This week’s query: how did Cambridge vote in the 1915 statewide referendum on enfranchising women to be able to vote.

Below are some comments on a few top line items and a few quick notes for tonight’s meeting.


Congratulations to Water Department Director, Sam Corda, on a long and impressive career in Cambridge!

Local Events/Notes

Fuel pumps warning labels at gas stations
In 2020, Cambridge became the first community in America to put health and environmental warning labels on fuel pumps at gas stations. The stickers are intended to remind drivers of the impact of using fossil fuels and hopefully consider non-polluting options. Similar to cigarette warning labels, the intent is public education. Now, other municipalities and states are considering labels. A UMASS study is seeking to understand how effective the warning labels are. Please take two minutes to fill out the UMass Amherst survey (it really is just 2 minutes). Please share the link with your networks!

Text alerts for towing
Through working on towing issues, I have learned about a company that has been working to develop a local alert system to warn residents about towing. They have been working in Boston and Somerville and are working to expand in Cambridge. Take a look at their website and consider signing up for alerts:

CRA Grants for Nonprofits Feasibility Studies
The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority has announced the availability of new grants for non-profits to support capital improvement projects.

City Council Updates

HEART Funding
Last week I cosponsored a policy order calling for the funding of a community response program called HEART. This program does great work and I hope this will act to solidify our commitment to community response efforts that aren’t solely tied to police work. We can and should commit ourselves to non-violent intervention and community safety and I think this is a great step. I exercised my charter right during floor debate on the policy order in order to have a few more conversations with city staff and heart. I am committed to a strong contract for HEART that allows them to utilize their growing skill sets and improve our community response efforts.

Land Acquisitions – Affordable Housing
Last week I sponsored a policy order, with the help of Mayor Siddiqui and Vice Mayor Mallon and Councillor Carlone to ensure that the city is more proactive in researching and purchasing property in the city. Too often I see missed opportunities for the city to purchase multifamily housing that would allow us to provide more affordable home ownership opportunities in Cambridge. The council has been urging the city to consider purchasing more available properties for years and this policy order will hopefully work to change the city’s purchasing practices. Councillor Simmons exercised her charter right to take more time to consider the policy order, but I am confident that it will pass during our next council meeting.

I mentioned this in my previous newsletter, but I want to continue to mention again for the sake of transparency, my recent statement on BEUDO. I remain as committed as ever to passing BEUDO, while protecting equity and working towards the needs of our residents. To that end, I was happy to cosponsor a policy order last week which will work towards ensuring collaboration with Eversource as our city continues to move from fossil fuels and towards renewable energies. I’ll also reiterate my willingness to meet with anyone with questions or concerns about BEUDO (or anything else!).

AED Access in Public Parks
I am grateful to my cosponsors, Vice Mayor Mallon, and Councillors McGovern and Toner for helping to pass a policy order last week requesting the city to install Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at all public parks and practice fields. AEDs are life-saving devices and I’m thankful to the dedicated folks who reached out to us asking for this policy order. We will receive a report from the City Manager soon with a plan for implementation.

City Council Meeting – Monday, March 13, 2023

Roundtable on Municipal Broadband
There will be no regular City Council meeting on Monday night. Instead, there will be a roundtable meeting of the City Council to discuss the latest updates on a municipal broadband program. We met last November at a roundtable and discussed the feasibility of a program with the City Manger and the consultant group tasked with the program, and I expect Monday’s meeting will include a more detailed proposal along with answers to the many questions raised by the Council. This meeting will be held on zoom.

Charter Review Committee
The Charter Review Committee has been continuing their work reviewing our city charter and to prepare their report for the city council. The CRC currently meets every other Tuesday from 5:30pm – 7:30pm and are actively seeking input from all members of the community. Their next meeting is this Tuesday, March 14, 2023, at 5:30pm. In the coming weeks and months, they will be planning more public outreach events. They have also been working to attend community group meetings to spread the word about their important work and get input from the community. If you are part of a community group and would like to invite a CRC member to your meeting to talk about the work and get involved, please reach out to them via email! I invite you to attend their meetings and events, engage with members of the committee, and discuss your vision for our City charter. All the information as well as recordings of previous meetings can be found on their website. Further, you can submit written comments at any time to be considered by the CRC by emailing

COVID Boosters
The CDC recommends use of updated (bivalent) COVID-19 booster shots for better protection against COVID-19 Omicron variants. The updated Moderna booster is authorized for people ages 6 years and older. The updated Pfizer booster is authorized for people ages 5 years and older. Children in this age group are eligible for the bivalent boosters if it has been at least two months since the completion of their primary series or booster vaccination. Please see the links below to learn more about getting the booster and find out where you can get yours.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information
COVID-19 Vaccine Finder

Thank You

Thank you to everyone for reading. If there are any topics you want me to cover in future newsletters, I’m always happy for the input! As always, please feel free to reach out to my aide, Patrick ( , or me for any of your City Council needs.

You can find all previous newsletters on my website. Please share with anyone you think would be interested:

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