Saturday, November 19, 2005

City of Cambridge, MA and Dogs in Context

August 1, 2005 (Bob) to Cambridge Chronicle, not certain if published.

The City Council’s sudden interest in rights for dogs and dog owners attempts to hide the fact that the problem is artificial attacks on animals by the City of Cambridge in the first place.

Cambridge’s restrictions on dogs are draconian and inexcusable.

Cambridge’s mistreatment of dogs is part of a pattern of contempt for living beings by the City of Cambridge.

Cambridge has poisoned birds in our public squares.

Cambridge destroyed the bird sanctuary which used to be located on the City Hall front lawn. This was done by cutting down the bird’s trees and vines. Those birds conducted a 365 day happy chorus. That beautiful chorus was casually, heartlessly destroyed.

Cambridge routinely and needlessly destroys mature trees in its public works projects.

Cambridge is heartlessly starving the Charles River White Geese by denying them access to most of their 25 year, mile long habitat and feeding grounds.

Cambridge on Magazine Beach has destroyed the most important wetlands, wetlands vegetation and animal habitat.
Cambridge is installing a wall of vegetation which has no business on the Charles River. Cambridge is isolating Magazine Beach from animals and from the Charles River as much as possible.

Cambridge, as part of the sewer project across from the Hyatt has created another wall of vegetation starving free animals, especially the Charles River White Geese.

All wetlands, wetlands vegetation, animal habitat and more than 449 to 660 trees are being destroyed on the Charles River.

Animal habitat at Alewife is being flooded because the City of Cambridge is spending too much money on environmental destruction and "cannot afford" to responsibly handle the water in question.

Freely running dogs under control of their owners should not be barred from parks unless there is a good reason.
Exactly the opposite is the current policy.

City councilors with open contempt for animals are bragging about dribs and drabs they are proposing to create. These dribs and drabs modify their own draconian dog restrictions which are so irresponsible they should not even exist.

The solution of the dog issue is the same as the solution for all attacks on free animals by the City of Cambridge.
We need a city council we can be proud of, not a city council which is as destructive of living beings who are not human beings as it can get away with.

We need to get rid of nine city councilors.

Liberalism in Cambridge, MA

Writeen 8/19/05 for submittal to Cambridge Chronicle, not certain if published (Bob):

RE: Letter: Liberalism in Cambridge

Cambridge Chronicle

The report calling Cambridge not even in the top five of America’s most liberal communities comes as no surprise.

On housing and the environment, Cambridge, on matters solely within its powers, is the opposite of liberalism.

We have one of America’s most densely populated cities but we have twice the jobs we should have.

As a result of this, first, a lot of people have to commute to their jobs in Cambridge and drive as part of that commute.
Secondly, that disproportion of jobs gives us two times the people looking for housing in Cambridge we should have. Our bizarrely overpriced housing stock is a direct result of this vast disproportion of jobs.

And our city’s development policies are exactly wrong.

The city initiatives for Mass. Ave. between Harvard University and Porter Square are the wrong thing being done yet again.

The "planners" are trying to provide extreme incentives for first floor commercial use at the expense of housing and first floor open space. The "planners" are fighting to destroy the neighborhood retail block at the Three Aces and fighting to destroy the plaza at Porter Station.

The city manager has an equally bad proposal for Alewife Brook Parkway and west.

The shopping center proposal is so dense the "planners" keep their goals secret. The fine print translates as 50% denser than Harvard Square or more. The manager says that he would not be so irresponsible as to implement what he is asking for.

Housing zoning at a reasonable scale should be replacing industrial and other commercial zoning.

The area across from Fresh Pond on Concord Avenue should be neighborhood scale housing. Housing should be required for the railroad tracks west of Alewife Station, at the same density and construction type as the Inn at Harvard in Harvard Square. The Alewife shopping centers should be downzoned to neighborhood business districts.
Cambridge is flooding Alewife because they "don’t have the money" to do it right after spending open space money on Lincoln. They don’t have the money after destroying wetlands and starving the white geese on the Charles River.

They don’t have the money after putting up a wall of introduced vegetation in place of the Magazine Beach wetlands.
Cambridge’s real policies leave me wondering how we got found to be in the top ten of the most liberal cities in the country. Reality is strikingly different from lovely claims.

Capuano Representative Confirms Possible Mass. Pike Exit To Cambridge, MA

As Published in Cambridge Chronicle, September 2005, with paragraphing edits (Bob)

A representative of U.S. Rep. Mike Capuano has confirmed a possible change to the Mass. Pike.

The representative told the Dana Park Neighborhood Association that the turnpike is considering, but not currently acting on, a plan that would allow westbound traffic to change directions at the Allston-Brighton tolls.

City Council candidate Bob LaTrémouille said this is one step closer to a full off ramp from the Pike to Cambridgeport on the railroad bridge under the BU Bridge to allow Harvard to build on the existing Allston-Brighton off ramps which Harvard owns.

"The MBTA proved the Cambridgeport off ramp viable for traffic coming from the west," said LaTrémouille. "Turning around traffic coming from the east at Allston-Brighton would allow the Pike to use the Cambridgeport off ramp as a full off ramp. Hundreds of trees are being destroyed and the Charles River White Geese being starved to prepare for this off ramp."

Cambridge MA Taxes and the Environment

Bob, 10/21/05

People concerned about taxes need look no further than environmental expenditures to see just how bad a government we have.

Cantabridgians voted to tax ourselves when we voted the Community Preservation tax increase. One of three purposes was to increase public open space in Cambridge. This year nine city councilors have raided our open space tax money to buy land in Lincoln, MA.

The expenditure was to protect our water supply. If the expenditure had been made with water money, it would have been a perfectly proper expenditure, but we have nine city councilors with contempt for our environment in Cambridge and contempt for the public will. The money we voted for in the Community Preservation Tax open space fund was raided to keep the water rate down. The improper expenditure was $1.1 million.

Waste of money and public property is the norm in public space expenditures. The city manager does work in a park, the first thing he does is destroy trees. He works in the more natural areas, the Charles River and Alewife, and he destroys animals and animal habitat.

The 20 year old woods at Vellucci Park in Inman Square were destroyed to install a barren plaza. A grove of 8 to 12 four story high trees at Squirrel Brand was destroyed to be replaced with grass. 8 to 12 twenty year old trees were destroyed in Brattle Square to be replaced with essentially the same number of saplings. The bird sanctuary on city hall front lawn was destroyed by destroying trees and vines.

The Charles River White Geese are being heartless starved as part of the bizarre project at Magazine Beach in which wetlands are being replaced with designer shrubs walling off the Charles River. Two votes have been recently taken to destroy vegetation to which the White Geese’s nesting was moved. A starvation wall remains across from the Hyatt from a sewer project which ended a year ago.

More than 449 to 660 trees are being destroyed between Magazine Beach and Longfellow Bridge.

A flood control project is destroying Alewife which should be placed several hundred feet to the south.

Nine city councilors tell their voters to look at all the fancy light bulbs they are buying, not at the environment which they are destroying that is their sole responsibility.

Waste and destruction, misuse of taxes: this the environmental policy of Cambridge.

I object.

Fields in Flux

Kathy Podgers provides the following, which I assume originated with Helen Doran (Bob):

Patches of green space are essential for the survival of our wildlife in a shifting climate, says Helen Doran from English Nature. Bumblebees in March, blackberries in June? This year’’s Springwatch and Autumnwatch surveys confirmed the trend of British seasons arriving earlier and earlier. Ripe blackberries were seen on 27 June this summer in some parts of the country, and bees and butterflies are being spotted an average of three weeks earlier than they were 30 years ago.

Climate change presents a series of important and immediate challenges to scientists, policy makers and the public. There is already clear evidence to show that wildlife is being affected by climate change. This includes changes in populations, ranges, migration patterns, and seasonal and reproductive behaviour of certain species.

The RSPB says that last year was the worst breeding season on record for many breeding seabirds on UK shores. This, its ecologists believe, is likely to be linked to the effects of climatic shifts further down the food chain. Sandeels, which are the birds’’ main source of food, are in decline because their own diet of plankton appears to be abandoning our warming coastal waters.

From protected areas through agricultural land to the wildlife habitat in our towns and cities, there are innovative ways of managing resources that can help habitats and species cope better with the inevitable climate change. One of the best solutions is to develop ‘‘ecological links’’ and create a network of river corridors, woodlands, grasslands, parks, allotments and gardens throughout the country to allow species to move between protected sites.

In rural areas, farmers and land managers are already being encouraged through the government’’s Environmental Stewardship Scheme to conserve wildlife and provide them with ecological links by leaving hedgerows and buffer zones around fields, protecting trees, and looking after ditches.

But in towns and cities it is open green space, often managed primarily for recreation, which allows much urban wildlife to survive. English Nature and the London Wildlife Trust are promoting a network of green space in London to help achieve the targets for the long-term protection of species such as the stag beetle and the water vole set out in the London Biodiversity Action Plan and the Mayor’’s Biodiversity Strategy, and to protect the city from the impacts of climate change. We hope to see green roofs, ponds, reedbeds, and ditches to store water to prevent localised flooding, and well designed landscaping schemes to reduce extreme weather conditions by providing shade and shelter.

Wildlife-rich green space is also important for our own health and wellbeing, reducing stress levels and providing opportunities for exercise and recreation. English Nature recommends that no one should have to live more than a five-minute walk from a green space. The new developments associated with the government’’s Sustainable Communities Plan are a great opportunity to design in green space for new communities to provide nice places for people to live and the ecological links needed by wildlife to adapt to a changing climate.

Helen Doran is a sustainability adviser at English Nature. 01733 455206,

Environmental Destruction Extends to Porter Square

Published in Cambridge Day, 11/14/05, by Bob:

Cambridge Day

The Day has, quite properly, given good reporting to the situation in the Porter Square area.

Regrettably, the most important things going on are kept as quiet as possible.

The heavily treed plaza at Porter Station is under attack by the City Manager and the developer/contractor community.

Fine print was included in the last air rights proposal for Porter Station to destroy this plaza for retail. Fine print is included in the city manager’s pending zoning change for North Mass. Ave which is intended to exactly that as well.

The city manager’s North Mass. Avenue zoning proposal would do a lot more than that. The North Mass. Ave. zoning proposal fights to destroy all first floor housing from Wendell Street to Porter Square and to destroy as much first floor open space, private yards, as the city manager can get away with. The zoning proposal even prefers construction of dormitories to construction of market housing.

Even worse, incorporated in the proposal is language to reward destruction of the Three Aces block just north of Harvard Law as well.

The common denominator in this initiative as in so many other city manager zoning initiatives is secrecy. Lovely words, lovely packaging, and secrecy on very destructive things sneaked in.

The city needs more treed plazas such as at Porter Station. The city manager keeps destroying trees.

The city needs to protect its neighborhood businesses such as the Three Aces block. The city manager keeps helping developers/contractors destroying them as well.

The city council should defeat the city managers north Mass. Ave. upzoning to protect the environment of our city.