Monday, May 27, 2024

A sign at the Central Square 1369 Coffeehouse describes its charitable efforts Saturday, one of the efforts taken citywide to help the earthquake-ravaged country. (Photo: Marc Levy)

There remains no permanent mayor for Cambridge. In the third round of voting among city councillors, held Monday, with five votes needed for an election, the votes are as follows:

Four votes for David Maher, consisting of Maher himself, Leland Cheung, Sam Seidel and Tim Toomey; three votes for Ken Reeves, consisting of Reeves himself, Majorie Decker and Craig Kelley; and two votes for Henrietta Davis, consisting of Davis herself and Denise Simmons.

The votes are unchanged from the last round of ballots, Jan. 11.

Councillors gave no changes or corrections, and voting was unanimously closed for another week.

Councillor Ken Reeves will continue to serve as interim mayor and School Committee member until five votes are secured for a candidate.

There was a hint of tension during the Monday meeting, when a series of special orders and considerations led to some procedural fumbling on the part of Reeves, a three-term mayor temporarily back in the role because of the length of his service and because his name is ahead of Toomey’s alphabetically. One fumble came toward the end of the meeting, when Reeves requested late business from councillors, accepted from Simmons that there was some — then moved to close the meeting anyway.

Earlier, Toomey had suggested Reeves group issues “and run the meeting appropriately.”


The issues Toomey wanted to address as group were those facing the council related to the devastation Haiti suffered from a Jan. 11 7.0-magnitude earthquake, including expressing support for a Housing Authority amnesty for Haitian public housing tenants inviting displaced family members to live with them. Federal policy is unwelcoming to Haitian refugees, and authority rules allow only a certain number of people in a housing unit.

But, councillor Simmons said, these are extraordinary circumstances. She said that among 14 Haitian families with children at the Haggerty School, there are 45 family members killed by the earthquake or in its aftermath. There are some 5,000 Haitians in the city.

In such a crisis, families in subsidized housing should be able to take in family members without fearing eviction for a lease violation, she said.

Seidel wanted to recognize the charitable work of 1369 Coffeehouse, which took donations for Haiti instead of pay Saturday, provided matching funds and donated $10,000; and Jose Matteo’s Dance Theatre, which also held a benefit Saturday resulting in a $10,000 donation.

“Cambridge feels the suffering in Haiti deeply,” Seidel said.

Students at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School have T-shirts for sale to benefit Haiti, Toomey said. Those interested in buying one or more can click here to request information.

Chickens and ducks

Much of the meeting was taken up with public comment concerning the presence of chickens and ducks in Cambridge and the complaints — of health concerns, noise and a subsequent increase in the rat population — of neighbors suddenly confronted with their presence.

In words worrisome to supporters of keeping chickens and ducks, City Manager Robert W. Healy noted that in city law, “if a use is not listed as permitted, it is not permitted. Since the keeping of chickens and ducks are not listed, such use is not permitted anywhere in the city.”

The Board of Zoning Appeal will hear the issue Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Central Square Senior Center at 806 Massachusetts Ave.

There are two council meetings before that hearing, though, at which supporters of keeping chickens and ducks could move to amend Cambridge law to allow them.

Update: A previous version of this story misstated which round of mayoral voting took place Jan. 25.