Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Councillors question shelter plans, look to recovery

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. The city’s plan to house the homeless together at a temporary  coronavirus mass shelter in Mid-Cambridge is too dangerous, councillors Quinton Zondervan and Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler will argue, since the plan doesn’t include testing of people who show up without symptoms – despite experts’ belief that infected people who don’t yet display symptoms may transmit up to half of total infections. The two councillors also are uncomfortable with vague explanations “about day-to-day proceedings at the shelter, including hygiene, food service and general downtime” and how it will control spread of the virus, after asking for details a week ago, and don’t understand why the city hasn’t found a better solution in the “thousands of dormitory rooms and hotel rooms.”

Zondervan, chair of the council’s Public Safety Committee, says he intends to schedule hearings about how the city runs in the coming months to avoid returning to a crisis mode that shuts businesses and forces people to stay home. Other councillors want the city manager to convene a Small Business Recovery Advisory Committee and review the impact of the pandemic on local communities of color, as there are indications that African-Americans are getting sick and dying nationwide from coronavirus out of proportion to their share of the population. 

The meeting will be televised and stream online. Sign up for public comment here to get instructions about how to use the necessary Zoom video conference platform. 

School Department budget process continues

School Committee, 6 p.m. Tuesday. This meeting continues a public hearing on a proposed School Department budget, followed by a budget workshop and finally a motion to convene privately to discuss a contract with the Food Service Employee Association.

The meeting will be broadcast over Cambridge Educational Access TV channels 98 and 99 and should stream online.

CRA: Coronavirus relief, Eversource substation

Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, 5:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday. The board will talk about forgiving April and May rent payments for its tenants at the 93-99 Bishop Allen Drive “nonprofit row” building; setting up a Small Business Covid-19 Relief Grant Program in East Cambridge and Kendall Square; and letting recipients of its Forward Fund grants use unspent money for emergency operation expenses. On the more business-as-usual side of things, the Broad Institute has 2,500 square feet of development rights that will likely be granted, and there’s discussion of the plans to put an Eversource substation at Kendall Square’s Blue Garage, the alternative to putting it on residential Fulkerson Street.

Join the meeting online at zoom.us/j/668451171 or call (646) 558-8656 and enter the Meeting ID of 668 451 171#. (Push # again if prompted for a participant ID.)