A little late with my newsletter – sorry. Been busy with so many things going on…. Last week with Halloween – the creativity displayed in Cambridge – of costumes, pumpkins and houses – was delightful. My kids (now young adults) did some stellar pumpkin carving, as biased as I may be, their efforts were great. Our son won The Pemberton Market pumpkin contest with his spectacular dragon … which took many more hours than I would have had patience for. Prize to someone who guesses what my costume was, pictured above with Councillor Azeem – look closely to see the Mayor meowing in the background!
Next week is the end of the midterm elections. I voted last weekend as you can see below. November 8 is Election Day – early voting ended Friday. If you have a ballot to mail in, DO IT SOON. This year, if postmarked by Nov. 8 AND received by Nov. 12 the ballot will be counted. You can drop it off at a ballot box from now through Nov. 8. Check your poll location for your ward and precinct – every voter was mailed the location. Some poll locations have changed. On the ballot are all state and federal level offices up for election, and four statewide ballot questions. Some Cambridge areas have additional ballot questions. You can check your status and location and sample ballot before heading out.
This weekend marked the end of Daylight Saving Time, hope you enoyed the extra hour Sunday morning.
Below are some comments on a few top line items including some comments on some items from the last City Council meeting and a few quick notes for TODAY’s – this Monday’s – meeting. As always, please take care of yourself and take time out to appreciate something, small or large, every day.
Election Day and Veterans Day
This week will see schools closed on Election Day – since many schools are used for polling places. AND this Friday is Veterans Day. Schools and city offices will be close. There are several veteran observances around the area. We honor veterans – my grandfather served in WWI and my father signed up for the Korean WAr and just missed serving. I honor all who serve, even if I sometimes question the leadership for decisions made.
City Council Updates
First I wanted to touch base on a few items from the last City Council Meeting on October 31 before hitting on a few notes for the next meeting Today, Monday, November 7.
The Policy Order from Mayor Siddiqui, Vice Mayor Mallon, and I – to request a follow up discussion on municipal broadband – passed unanimously last week, and a date has been set for the roundtable on this important topic – Monday November 28, 2022. We will discuss the feasibility study that the Council made happen.
Electric Vehicle Infrastructure
We discussed the petition from former Councillor Craig Kelly, which I support, to allow easier and more innovative ways for people to share charging infrastructure for EVs. Councillor Toner and I have been discussing the issue further and will work on ensuring that idea moves forward.
There were two zoning petitions last week. The Council voted to forward them both, as required, to the Planning Board and Ordinance Committee for deliberation. One is on changing zoning on Northern Mass. Ave. and one is on prohibiting labs in some of the squares. The lab prohibition proposal caused some frustration – you can read the CambridgeDay article about it. I hope that we can discuss the idea on its merits and figure out what makes sense. At this moment, I am not sure which is the best way to address the concerns expressed, but I am committed to working with my fellow Councillors to come to the best solution.
Proper Leaf Disposal
It’s been frustrating to see the mixed messages on leaf disposal. The policy order asking for better communication about the merits of leaving SOME leaves on lawns and in plant beds has led to an improvement in city communications, but we still have some more work to do to ensure appropriate communication on this topic. The Department of Public Works along with Zero Waste Cambridge published the below newsletter, which has some of the information I have advocated for.
Yard Waste Season – Zero Waste Cambridge
City Council Meeting – Monday, November 7, 2022
MBTA Bus Redesign
There has been much discussion in the community about the MBTA bus route changes. A draft was published earlier this year. The input from that draft was incorporated into a revised proposal released last week. Some of the revisions are welcome and help our community restore public transit access. Other changes are still problematic – and I and others hope additional revisions will be made. I sponsored a policy order with Vice Mayor Mallon and Councillors Azeem and Toner asking the city and the MBTA to consider additional changes. I want to thank all of you in the community who have emailed the City Council advocating for additional changes. Your testimony and advocacy are incredibly helpful in shaping policy decisions.
A policy order for this week asks that the city meet with residents on the Garden Street change. I always support monitoring the impact of these changes and increasing communication with residents. I do want to ensure that residents are clear that the one-way will stay and that the bike lanes are part of a longstanding plan. AND, as we monitor and assess, we know that the first couple of months people will be adjusting to the new traffic patterns. I travel through that area regularly – by car, by bike, and as a pedestrian. I know it well, and know that we need to take time to analyze the changes and understand the impact.
As I noted above, here’s another reminder that Election Day is this Tuesday, November 8. Please check out the city webpage below for detailed information and links so that you can make a plan to vote (if you haven’t already).
November 8, 2022 State Election Voting Options
Charter Review Committee
The Charter Review Committee has been working to define what topics to consider during the course of their work. CambridgeDay wrote an article this week on their last meeting. This week, I sent a letter with some topline thoughts on issues I hope are considered, which you can read below. The CRC will be hosting meetings specifically to gather input from residents – so look for those opportunities when they are announced. The CRC also welcomes public comment during their twice-monthly meetings. Their next meeting is this Tuesday, November 8, 2022, at 5:30pm. The calendar information is below. Further, you can submit written comments at any time to be considered by the CRC by emailing CharterReviewCommittee@Cambridgema.gov.
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.
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.