Wednesday, July 24, 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.


A Bluebikes rider passes a car at an apartment parking garage in Mid-Cambridge on Feb. 14. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Assessing city manager Huang

City Councils’ Ad Hoc Committee on the City Managers Evaluation Process, 10 a.m. to noon, Friday. Councillors follow through with their city manager evaluation process and, based on agenda materials, will find City Manager Yi-An Huang has followed through on his own promises, from hiring department heads to implementing universal prekindergarten. The only red “not met” flag among all the green and yellow of goals met or “almost met” is about implementing an annual employee engagement and satisfaction survey. The council meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Fire chief hiring, parking law

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. A latest survey of residents looks largely positive, with 56 percent of respondents calling Cambridge an “excellent” place to live, up from 48 percent last year, while affordable housing remains the top concern for 39 percent of those surveyed. Government in general gets good marks, with libraries getting “excellent” ratings by 68 percent and the fire department following at 51 percent – which may boost the city’s bid to the state Legislature to be allowed to ditch civil service rules and let Cambridge hire the fire chief it wants. All other department head positions are exempt already.

Councillors are keen to explore automated parking enforcement, following the example of Somerville and finding that “SafetySticks” installed in its Davis Square spotted an average seven infractions a day over 67 days. This is also the meeting that could see action on laws affecting cannabis businesses, the keeping of backyard chickens, adoption of an East Cambridge Neighborhood Conservation District and how the city adds less-typical households – domestic partnerships, the polyamorous and so on – to fair housing and human-rights considerations.

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

Bicycle and bike lane use data

Transportation and Public Utilities Committee, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. This committee run by city councillor Burhan Azeem tackles bicycle ridership and bike lane use data, which has been divisive and hard to pin down for Cambridge over the past months and was even a major factor in recently decided municipal elections. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Expanding the power grid, fast

Health & Environment Committee, 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday. This committee run by city councillor Patty Nolan gets an update on plans and timeline for the distribution of electric power by Eversource and how the city can speed up expansion of grid capacity to the point it can meet climate commitments without delay. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Strong mayor looking strong

Charter Review Committee, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. This group charged with suggesting updates to the city’s 80-year-old governing document has discussion around moving to a model for running the city that has a strong mayor with a city council, a change from the current city manager with a weak mayor and council. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Vassal Lane school name change

School Committee, 6 p.m. Tuesday. The renaming of the Vassal Lane Upper School to avoid honoring a 1700s family of enslavers gets a somewhat contorted proposal: To avoid using the same of the enslavers, Vassal, committee members seek to instead honor one of the enslaved in their home – whose last name was Vassal. Coupled with an honor for longtime school district leader Carolyn Turk, the suggestion on the table is for the Darby Turk Upper School, which a motion explains as following a model in which “Cambridge has previously named schools after two civil rights leaders, namely Saundra Graham and Rosa Parks.” Another motion asks about following American Montessori Association Accreditation guidance at the Tobin School to move it to a three-year Upper Elementary Program from two.

The committee meets in the Dr. Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 459 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Ending ‘lodging house loophole’

Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The board hears a zoning petition meant to handle a loophole from 2001 allowing “lodging houses which are simply an in-name-only use classification for hotels and motels” in residential areas, lead signer Allene R. Pierson said. Members also consider a request for a restaurant called Depth N Green to open at 7 Broad Canal Way in Kendall Square to serve Indian-inspired food such as sandwiches, burgers and smoothies. The board meets on the second floor of the City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.