Thursday, June 20, 2024

These are just some of the municipal meetings and civic events for the coming week. More are on the City Calendar and in the city’s Open Meetings Portal.


The uniform of the Community Safety Department response teams: T-shirts. (Photo: City of Cambridge)

Community Safety and Cop City

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. An update on the city’s Community Safety Department shows the new unarmed response team on a slow path to start taking 911 calls in March, though the department was staffed as of Monday and will transition into staggered shifts as of Dec. 4 – for three months “getting familiar with the community through outreach, shadowing, ride-alongs and support for the [homeless] warming center as well as attending meetings, events and other community engagement opportunities,” according to a memo from the City Manager’s Office.The department’s Community Assistance, Response and Engagement teams will arrive at the scene of a crisis in distinctive T-shirts meant to split the difference between confusing plainclothes and potentially divisive uniforms. “We landed on a softer look, with T-shirts in visible colors that are fun, accessible and soothing,” the memo says. (Meanwhile, the citizen-founded Holistic Emergency Alternative Response Team signed a $300,000 contract with the city June 2 for staffing.)

This meeting marks a year since the arrival of City Manager Yi-An Huang, and his fall update covers the work of the past several months: locking in the 2024 fiscal year budget; zoning for the Alewife neighborhood; and addressing climate change, including amending the Building Energy Use and Disclosure Ordinance, preparation to participate in a state Fossil Fuel Free pilot, launching the Electrify Cambridge program and making electric-vehicle charging more accessible. (There’s a council order at this meeting about support for getting rid of gas-powered lawn care equipment too, and debate on a motion returns from the previous meeting about green roofs.)

A number of orders will feel familiar from a week ago, starting with councillor E. Denise Simmons wanting reconsideration of an order that passed without even a vote – opposition to Cambridge participating in any way with activities at the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center (often referred to as “Cop City”) or similar facilities. Items returning from councillors using their “charter right” to delay discussion by one regular meeting concern the quality of life in Central Square; possible reform of the city’s approach to lower-income homeownership; and that green roofs amendment.

The council meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Harvard’s Legacy of Slavery

Short-film screening and discussion, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Free, but register. The first in a series of community conversations to spark engagement for reparative work following the release of Harvard’s report disclosing its historical ties to slavery and its commitment of a $100 million endowment to support reparative efforts. A short film highlights the report, followed by a panel discussion with Vincent Brown, Melissa Wood Bartholomew and Terrance Mitchell moderated by Tony Clark of My Brother’s Keeper Cambridge. In the lecture hall at the Cambridge Main Library, 449 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge.

Ranking users of school facilities

School Committee, 6 p.m. Tuesday. The committee prepares to prioritize use of school facilities among its own needs, other government uses, residents and Cambridge nonprofits, nonresidents and nonprofits from outside the community and for-profit businesses. Motions signal support for the LGBTQIA+ and condolences for the death of student Jaden McDaniels, and there’s unfinished business with elementary school guidelines – stressing that the schedules are merely advisory. The committee meets in the Dr. Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 459 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge.

Changes to building energy law

Ordinance Committee, 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillors Marc McGovern and Quinton Zondervan looks at a proposed change to the Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance adopted by the council June 26 to reduce reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The amendment from Zondervan would set Jan. 1, 2025, as a dividing line for standards on nonresidential properties covered by the law. Get a certificate of occupancy after, for example, and compliance periods are yearly and must show linear progress no matter the square footage. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Open data, its licensing and AI

Open Data Review Board Meeting, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. Cambridge has plenty of raw data of all sorts online for anyone to work with – but not everything is posted. City Manager Yi-an Huang visits to talk about his views on open data and its licensing and discuss how artificial intelligence changes things. The board will also talk about retiring obsolete datasets and changes to the open data website. The board meets in the second-floor Ackerman Room at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Schools’ steel ‘topping-off’

Tobin Montessori and Vassal Lane Upper schools steel topping-off ceremony, 1 p.m. Thursday. Nope, these campuses aren’t done – not even close. The fall of 2025 is still the hoped-for reopening date. But this ceremony marks the placement of the final steel beam at the top of the building’s framework, a construction industry tradition “that marks a significant milestone in the construction of a building,” organizers say. And there will be a look at the site, officials on hand to buttonhole and refreshments. At 450 Concord Ave., West Cambridge near Fresh Pond.