Friday, June 14, 2024

To all concerned parties, especially the City Council:

I am writing because I just saw the city plans to reopen hair salons, barber shops, laboratories, pet grooming, etc., on Monday. I am not writing to find fault with this; if the decision has been carefully made, I support it. What I cannot comprehend is how the City Manager’s Office thinks it is safe for people to spend hours cutting hair in close proximity in confined spaces, but somehow the city still needs at least two weeks to make any significant policy changes to road use to allow pedestrians, cyclists, and runners more room outside, and then only on a short stretch of Memorial Drive. I find this inconsistency disturbing. There is no logical world where beneficially closing roads to traffic is more dangerous than the steps being taken Monday to open businesses.

The city manager was asked a month ago by the City Council to begin the process of closing roads to improve pedestrian access and social distancing, but instead he showed his open contempt for our elected officials and by extension the voters of Cambridge by doing less than nothing, instead actually opening more roadway to cars than normal by keeping “Riverbend Park” closed.

I fear the manager has no interest in making policy based on science or common sense; he believes only in the primacy of the automobile and making policy by polling his friends and advisors’ “feelings” (per his comments during the City Council meetings on this issue). Unfortunately, these feelings often do not seem to consider the interests of the majority of the citizens of this city. I ask the council to consider carefully whether an official with this much contempt for accountable policy and the city’s elected officials should be allowed to stay in his position, especially once this contract is up. Surely, a competent city manager can be found that will better understand the fact that he works for and is accountable to the people of Cambridge.

Pete Septoff, Hancock Street