Great news! Starting today, most of Harvard Square is pedestrian only! And the Dance Party will happen every month, in a different place! And the rat problem has been solved by baiting traps with birth control for rodents! And Angela Merkel is coming out of retirement to be our next City Manager!
Alas, those are headlines for April Fool’s Day…. not yet a reality, but each has a smidgen of possibility for improving our city.
For real, it IS April – earth month. Mayor Siddiqui will be working on a number of initiatives related to climate, and one of the key advances in the issuance of the Climate Crisis Working Group report. Below is a little more information – PLEASE read, react, respond and ask the City Council to take it up and take action [speak up at Monday’s meeting]. In conjunction with the work around the Green New Deal for Cambridge, we are poised to make a difference IF we shift our approach and follow the recommendations.
The Green Line Extension is now open to Union Square. Not an April Fool’s Day joke! It was EXCITING ! It is finally – after more than twenty years – open, and the extension to Tufts/Medford will be open by this summer. The event was a star studded event, with the Governor, both our US Senators, US Reps. Clark and Pressley, Mayors of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, … former mayors Capuano and Curtatone… State Sen. Pat Jehlen and many state reps. The range of speakers was inspiring since all the intertwined issues so critical to keep in mind for this type of major pubic infrastructure investment were mentioned: importance of public transit, investment in infrastructure, need for collaboration, the essential role played by persistent community activists, the push for equity, recognition of the potential for displacement, the need for massive amount of both federal and state funding – it truly took a monumental effort and it was thrilling to be there at the opening!
Recently I’ve had numerous conversations with stakeholders about BEUDO – the buildings emissions ordinance – and am hopeful that the city will move forward with a strong ordinance that will have impact on our citywide climate goals. I will continue to reach out to those with questions or concerns, and to any who support the accelerated path. That has been a major initiative that is being advanced – I am happy to be working on it. We are basing our work on innovation and science. Cambridge needs to be leading the way.
Last weekend I went to an event led by some local Ukrainians – a moving event that reminded us all of the interconnections we have and the importance of standing against tyranny.
Covid numbers are rising slightly, but overall the re-opening has not yet led to a spike in hospitalizations. Masks are now optional everywhere and boosters continue to be recommended (at least one) for everyone.
This week’s newsletter is short, since last week’s meeting was light, and next Monday’s agenda is light also. Don’t forget that street cleaning starts this month (at some point we need to stop those trucks going around the city spewing emissions just to remind us all…..) And do enjoy the spring and do support local businesses.
Last Week’s Update:
POR 2022 #52 – Screening Committee for New Auditor: Our current City Auditor, James Monagle, will be retiring on May 31st of this year. Vice Mayor Mallon and I have agreed to lead the committee to screen for the next auditor. We have requested that the City Manager appoint three senior City staff as members of the preliminary screening committee, along with two additional Councillors.
This Week’s Update:
Climate Crisis Working Group: The CCWG report is finally here! As you may know, CCWG met over the course of a few months to build on Cambridge’s climate work, with the goal of increasing the urgency and impact of that work and providing policy guidance on how Cambridge can better address this crisis. From September through December 2021, the CCWG convened to discuss Cambridge’s citywide climate goals, projects, and plans, and ultimately decided on several recommendations for the City to increase the impact of certain environmental initiatives.
We created a list of several recommendations for the city to implement, as well as addressed certain barriers to success and ways to overcome them. For next steps, it is expected that the Health and Environment Committee will call a meeting soon to present this report to the public and move this conversation forward.
Last Week: The blue glob on the beach in my last newsletter was a Portuguese Man-O-War. Quite striking, and toxic and let’s hope it never makes it up to New England shores…
For this week: What is the best prank you played or had played on you? Could be April Fool’s day or not…. I’ll tell one of mine in the next newsletter. $25 gift certificate to a local place for the best one sent in.