Monday, May 31, 2021

Cambridge City Council considers rewriting the functioning of the City of Cambridge. I. A personal prequil.

 Cambridge City Council considers rewriting the functioning of the City of Cambridge.   I.  A personal prequil.

1. Introduction.

2. A very general background.

3. Undergrad, writing.

4. Undergrad, Achieving.

5. Employment with the Governor’s Office during Law School.

6. To be continued.

1. Introduction.

The purpose of this now 16 year old blog is to protect the environment, the animals and the water of the Charles River and related areas.

I have deviated from the basic goal to get into the new plans of the Cambridge City Council to not only destroy the Charles River, but also to destroy that part of the City of Cambridge which is second most cherished, Harvard Square.  In the process, I have attempted to refrain from Cambridge politics insofar as possible.

Wednesday, June 2, Cambridge’s nine destructive City Councilors will be considering whether to change the city “charter,” the rules upon which Cambridge city government is based.

Analysis of the current government situation from an environmental point of view could be helpful.  I am now in my sixth decade working for the environment in this extremely hypocritical city.  I have worked to achieve the goals of the folks who elect the Cambridge City Council, although those folks currently are dominated by a tiny minority which lies about the environmental outrage which is the Cambridge City Council.

This topic and my musings could way overload any individual report.

2. A very general background.

I have worked for the goals of the majority of Cambridge residents in spite of the lies being fed to them.  I have had a great deal of success, but a major factor in my success has been a recognition of what is possible at any particular time.  Within that recognition, I have been extremely successful.

The roots of this current outrage go back to the 60s in Cambridge.  I was born in Cambridge.  I lived in Baltimore and then Philadelphia during the two years between undergrad at UMass Amherst and post grad at Boston University.  I have always been a “moderate.”  

3. Undergrad, writing.

I came to UMass Amherst from the U.S. Army in which I served in Germany when the Berlin Wall went up.

I started in the Winter semester after discharge the prior October.  My first semester was difficult because I did not remember how to study.  I did well because I was scared and effectively used my military training to be a good student.  

That fall, in the fall semester of my first real study year at UMass Amherst, I wanted to do something as an activity since I was now able to study.  I became a justice in a judicial panel at the trial level of UMass’s student judiciary system.  In that capacity, I rather strongly was shown severe problems with the rules of the institution.  I resigned at the beginning of my second full year at UMass Amherst and turned my spare time toward improving the rules.

In the winter semester of my third full year, I participated in an intense effort to clean up campus rules as a member of the appropriate student senate sub committee.  Working within the then sexually segregated rules system, our committee went to every men’s dorm on campus and met with folks to discuss the rules under which we were living.  The subcommittee gave up our midterm vacation to finalize a rules change proposal in time to reach the school administration’s deadline for rules proposals to be effective in the Fall.

4. Undergrad, Achieving.

Come the Fall, I had been elected Student Senator representing my dorm, and the administration had referred our rules proposal to the Faculty Senate.  The Faculty Senate created a joint and equally distributed faculty / student committee on the subject.   I was appointed to it.

I spent the fall semester holding down the campus.  The university’s official rules said that the students were governed by rules of their own creation.  The leaders of some of the dorms we had visited decided they wanted to live by our rules proposal.  I met with them, told them that I thought the administration was behaving in good faith.  I proposed that, rather than having individuals sticking their necks out, we lay low and, should conditions warrant, maneuver a situation in which everybody simultaneously decided to implement our proposal, with no obvious leader and NO ONE PERSON’S NECK ON THE LINE.

Between semesters, the Faculty Senate rejected the proposal in very clear bad faith.

A student senator proposed EXACTLY THE CORRECT response to the Student Senate.  He proposed that we pass implementation of our proposal.  IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EXISTING rules.

He then got up in front of the Student Senate and, in support of his motion, made it clear that he did not have the slightest idea what he was doing.  He made his motion certain to lose.  If that happened, any subsequent motion would require a two thirds vote even to be considered.

I asked to be recognized.  The chair knew I had been holding the campus in check.  He recognized me figuring I would kill the motion.  I gave them Hell.

The chair sent a friend to ask me if I would agree to tabling it.  I did and for weeks thereafter, I took the motion off the table and updated the senate every week, followed by tabling the motion again.

The campus radicals conducted a sit in over military recruitment.  They obstructed access to recruiters and blocked the lobby of the Student Union in the process.  Five o’clock came.  The recruiters finished their work day and went home.  

This left the entry to the student union filled with demonstrators with no target present.  So they supported our rules position and got a public debate with the administration in the largest venue on campus.  The radicals in the debate accused administration employees of violations for which I had no doubt I could personally obtain firings.  

They were so far out of touch.

The Senate chair and I met by coincidence at the student senate office after this experience, figuring we had been destroyed by incompetence.

He proceeded to negotiate with the administration.  During the processing of the rules change proposal, the administration had merged regulation of women and men into one office.  

On our side, the negotiations included women who proceeded to make minimum demands which exceeded our maximum goals.  They wanted to apply all the rules changes in both women’s and men’s dorms.  

We won.  UMass Amherst proceeded to have the most liberal student rules in New England.

That fall I came back from my employment in Baltimore for Homecoming.  I wound up sharing a pretty large table in the Student Union, over coffee with the Dean of Students.  Six months earlier, this would have been inconceivable.  He was kind enough to describe me as the “most dangerous student on campus.”

5. Employment with the Governor’s Office during Law School.

Between my second and third year of Law School, I worked as an intern in the Massachusetts Governor’s office.  My boss wanted to show off their computer system.  He asked me if there was any bill that interested me.  

I had been biking to Boston University from the mid part of Cambridge, and biking to work at the State House.  I was on the mailing list for bike activists who objected to a bill regulating biking which was in front of the legislature.  The bill was well intentioned.  The sponsor just did not understand what he was doing.

I told my boss about that bill.  He informed me that it had passed both houses of the legislature and was on the governor’s desk.  He informed me that the governor agreed that it was a terrible bill, but that he had no choice but to sign it since the lead sponsor was a friend. 

My boss lied to me about the hostility of the governor to the proposal.   His description of the governor’s opinion was way more negative than my own opinion.  He did not know how to say no and greatly underestimated me.

Without me being at all visible, I did my best to implement what I had been told was the governor’s opinion,  Without mentioning my misunderstanding of the governor’s wishes, I got those bike activists active.  I gave them ideas and contacts.  

A week after my discussion with my boss, the Boston Globe editorialized in favor of the bill commenting about the very great furor which had appeared in the meantime, after it passed both houses WITHOUT NEGATIVE COMMENT.  

The sponsor asked the governor to veto his bill because he had not realized the bill’s defects.

I was amazed how little real effort I had to put into defeating that bill after the very major nightmare I had endured in the UMass Amherst Student Senate.  

I was the only governor’s intern NOT to get a photo with the governor.  He rather clearly gave me personal credit for that veto and was not pleased.

6. To be continued.