A sweeping set of street infrastructure reforms dominated Monday’s meeting of the City Council, inspired by two bicyclist deaths within the past four months, and won unanimous support. Now the proposals go to city staffers for study and implementation.
The City Council has selected Louis A. DePasquale unanimously to be the next city manager. The vote came at 6:55 p.m. today at a special meeting, after nearly 90 minutes of speeches.
City councillors defended the city manager search process against criticisms of a lack of public access, especially now that three finalist candidates have been chosen in the run-up to a Sept. 29 vote – only a day before the current city manager leaves office.
City officials assured citizens that plans to remake the Out of Town News kiosk in Harvard Square were not proceeding without public input and process, stressing that a design was not set and rejecting charges of a conflict of interest in selecting an architect.
Fears of an attack on public schools and scary encounters with potentially violent people in city buildings have given rise to a municipal “building security enhancement project” with a starting price tag of $2.1 million.
City councillors agreed to explore publicly funded “clean elections” in a Monday vote, a potential step toward ending the ugliness of recent municipal election seasons and a cause for division and suspicion among residents and officials.
There was comfort Monday for Italian-Americans upset over losing Columbus Day in Cambridge as a result of June 6 order replacing it with Indigenous Peoples Day. The celebration of other immigrant experiences will wait for a future policy orders, councillors said.
The loss of artists in Cambridge has reached a crisis point, say city councillors trying to grant resident artists a one-point advantage in the formula to apply for rentals in lower-income inclusionary housing – but the conversation has been temporarily set aside.
City Council meetings increasingly have limits on the way the public can express itself, and some may be unconstitutional – including ejecting a citizen holding a sign and ending public comment that conflicts with councillors’ rules.
Cambridge’s stand against LGBTQ discrimination has been heard, but not adopted, by the National League of Cities. The organization is declining to move its 2017 conference from Charlotte, N.C., likely leaving Cambridge city councillors at home that week.