Tear gas law, Alewife recession, Covid reopening
City Council, Monday 5.30 p.m. Although a policy banning the use of tear gas by Cambridge Police is in the works, councilors are defying advice from the Legal Department last week and are proposing legislation. Councilor Quinton Zondervan is also trying to reconsider last week’s vote on the lack of transparency of a task force redefining the city’s public safety, which was convened under a promise not to be public – and which became known for last week that no logs are kept. The council agreed that there would be reports from the committee, although Zondervan had urged more.
This is also the do-or-die get-together for developers Cabot, Cabot & Forbes’ plan to redesign their own 16 acres in the Cambridge Highlands. This is the development proposal that includes a bridge over Alewife railroad tracks for coupling to a proposed city bridge. CCF has a new letter of commitment for the project that guarantees the completion of the bridge by making the company’s occupancy certificate dependent on it. The letter could contain the promises city councils need to pass the zoning rather than letting the petition expire.
On the coronavirus front, some councilors want the city to pull back on its economic easing of indoor capacity rules and cancel the reopening of large indoor venues at half capacity, which is expected to take place on March 11th, and “the record renewal should continue.” Desire for data and scientific research to aid pandemic decision making. “The battle for Riverbend Park is back on the agenda after a few weeks. City councils are calling for the section of Memorial Drive near Harvard Square that makes up the “Park” to be closed to traffic earlier than normal and further down to provide space for socially distant movement.
It is also mandated to run a composting program with at least 100 small businesses after the 2018 city council asked city officials to look into setting up a program by the end of 2019. The city’s employees didn’t produce anything despite a new order in 2019 that asked for an update. A call to ask how much stationery is being bought for the local town hall is surprisingly tight considering it comes from E. Denise Simmons, who often calls for the expansion of other councilors’ orders. (For example, why check that the police commissioner truthfully answered a question about “military equipment” when the council could instead call for a review of the “blind spots of systemic racism” throughout the city government?) A bigger question is Like City Hall Responded to an October 2018 order to help all sorts of local businesses into community vendors, which city administrator Louis A. DePasquale said next month he didn’t even know about.
Can be televised and viewed via zoom videoconferencing.
Start search for a nearest city administrator
Government Operations, Rules and Claims Committee, Tuesday 3pm to 5pm. This committee, chaired by Councilor E. Denise Simmons, will meet to “discuss the first steps that need to be taken to set up the search process for the next city administrator”. This is a remarkably careful language after the city council signed an early contract renewal approval for city manager Louis A. DePasquale in September, in violation of the process they publicly agreed to.
Cookie cannabis for Harvard Square
Planning board, Tuesday, 6.30 p.m. The board receives a proposal for recreational marijuana in Harvard Square. A local group is looking to open a franchise for the cannabis chain Cookies, which has a lease on the 2,539-square-foot first floor that was once a staple in the Crimson Galeria. Opponents feel uncomfortable as the site is across from Winthrop Square Park. An organization for racial justice in the cannabis industry has labeled this opposition as racist. Can be televised and viewed via zoom videoconferencing.
Five-year plan of the redevelopment agency
Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. This agency’s board of directors, which oversees Kendall Square’s development (and mitigates its impact on the rest of the city), is reviewing the next five-year strategic planning process. Observable through zoom video conferencing.
Proposed school district budget for the next fiscal year
Special meeting of the school committee, Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The committee meets for a presentation of the proposed school district budget for fiscal year 2022, which begins July 1. Televised and viewed via zoom videoconference.
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