Sunday, February 28, 2010

River Street Bridge/Western Avenue Bridge Project: Presentation in Cambridge Coming

Bob La Trémouille reports:

MassDOT (Massachusetts Department of Transportation ) has announced a meeting in the Morse School near the BU Bridge in Cambridge on March 9, 2010, at 6:30 pm concerning the River Street and Western Avenue project.é

The state project is innocent.

The problems in the River Street / Western Avenue Bridge project stem from the vultures floating around.

The developer front which calls itself the Charles River Conservancy is fighting to continue its light pollution at the river level. Obviously, the environment has no rights. This developer lobby is aggressively in support of destroying whatever part of nature they can.

There is also a highway lobby fighting for massive environmental destruction to build a road for small vehicles, destroying whatever is in the way. This lobby, as usual, clearly has major connections in The Cambridge Machine.

False friend, Representative Walz, is taking credit for meetings being held in Cambridge. She does not to hear about why she supported maximum secrecy in the meetings on the BU Bridge project.

She and Davis yell about Boston meetings on the Western Avenue and River Street Bridges. She and Davis were deafeningly silent about the Boston/Kendall Square ONLY meetings on the BU Bridge.

How dare anybody hear about heartless animal abuse!!!!

How dare anybody hear about massive and needless environmental destruction.

Walz wants her constituents to hear about the state doing no damage, and even better, you might get talked into helping out her buddies destroying the environment. So the River/Western meeting are held in Cambridge. The BU Bridge meetings were kept as secret as possible.

And she does not want to talk about the hundreds of trees and animal habitat slated for destruction between the BU Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge.

A similar stunt was pulled at the Annual Meeting last week of the front organization of The Cambridge Machine which calls itself the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association.

The only thing controversial in that meeting was the report of the City Manager’s people on the Charles River. So it was moved to the end of the agenda and public comment was prevented the carefully orchestrated “lack of time.”

The Machine is extremely destructive.

The Machine’s destructiveness is well demonstrated by The Machine’s pretty much nonstop lying that The Machine is not destructive.

The civil rights judge in the Monteiro case is another situation which The Machine keeps as secret as possible. That judge is the one who called Cambridge “reprehensible” for destroying the life of a black woman in retaliation for her filing a civil rights complaint. The Machine is stretching out that poor woman’s misery as much as possible, as well in spite of a clear, excellent decision by the judge.

That is “the way things are done in Cambridge.”

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Cambridge Machine on the Charles River: Bad Faith of Course

Bob La Trémouille reports.

I reported recently on plans for the Cambridgeport branch of The Machine to put on a stacked presentation concerning the city’s plans for the Charles River.

The presentation went beyond being stacked. It was bad faith with no apologies.

The meeting was the evening of February 24 working through their Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association front.

The Charles River presentation was one of three by City Manager people. The others concerned Western Avenue and elderly proposals with a suggested zoning change.

The Charles River presentation was moved from third on the agenda to last. The first two City Manager shows were done in good faith with fair time for audience response.

The Charles River presentation did not start until 8:40 pm, with explicit statement that the meeting would end at 9 pm. No time was allowed for questions or comment.

Although I had the impression that Councilor Kelley would attend, and I responded on this blog to his rather outrageous explanation for the destruction on the Charles, he did not attend. Perhaps a factor in the blatant bad faith presentation could have been that I destroyed the nonsense he tried to pass off as an explanation. Another factor could be the letter the Cambridge Chronicle published written by Marilyn and me and published on this blog which did an effective job of proving reality on the Charles with regard to Councilor Davis.

Councilors Davis and Cheung were present.

Councilor Davis gave a pitch for the Development Department’s attempt to even further destroy the zoning ordinance. Before she spoke, a number of astute members of the audience clearly communicated that further destroying zoning protections was a bad idea.

I leafleted the crowd during the bad faith presentation on the Charles River with a flier which I will be happy to provide to you. Please just send an email to I gave Councilor Cheung a leaflet. His endorsement by The Machine’s controlled Sierra Club is damning, however.

The flier gives a detailed, effective explanation for the bad faith which was so clear in the meeting.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Little Brook Visits, Machine pontificates, plans more harm Wednesday night???

1. Little Brook’s Visit, Feeding Record, State Meeting.
A. Introductory.
B. Little Brook visits.
C. Follow ups to Little Brook.
D. State response.
2. Machine Pontificates.
A. The Fault of the Voters.
B. Too Late.
(1) Pending destruction of hundreds of healthy trees which has not occurred yet.
(2) Toss on responsible grass seed instead of poisons.
(3) Treat the introduced wall of bushes like all other vegetation bounding the Charles River.
(4) Fill in the poison drainage system.
(5) Kill the proposed restrictions on use.
3. Machine to do more harm Wednesday night?

Bob La Trémouille reports with significant writing by Marilyn Wellons.

1. Little Brook’s Visit, Feeding Record, State Meeting.

A. Introductory.

A few weeks ago, Friends of the White Geese met with the manager of the BU Bridge repairs at the destroyed nesting area of the Charles River White Geese.

We invited a number of people who have been involved with and concerned for the Charles River White Geese.

B. Little Brook visits.

The most beloved participant was Native American Reen LittleBrook.

Little Brook was the best friend of the Charles River White Geese from about 1996 to summer 2004.

In summer 2004, Little Brook got a bicycle. The next day, he wound up in a very severe collision. He is very lucky to be alive. After major rehabilitation, he still feels the effects of the collision.

During those eight years, Little Brook gathered bread and other food from many good people and got it to the geese.

Little Brook cared for their injuries and infirmities using his knowledge of practical medicines and animal care.

Two photos of his visit are included in this report. One photo of the view of the construction from where he was feeding is also attached.

C. Follow ups to Little Brook.

That summer Marilyn Wellons and others took over, as much as they could, Little Brook’s responsibilities.

Then on September 24, 2004, Cambridge and the state heartlessly began to starve the Charles River White Geese. Just when the geese were at Magazine Beach, their primary feeding grounds, from dawn to dusk to get ready for winter, the City of Cambridge and the DCR began a project to keep the geese permanently from the grass there. First the construction barriers went up. The geese were frantic when they discovered they couldn't get ashore.

All their food was taken away from them. The construction barriers remained for years. Since they came down the permanent barrier of plants has kept the White Geese from Magazine Beach.

This heartlessness drove home to us just how minimal the feeding we had been giving to the Charles River White Geese was compared to the bulk of their diet, grass along the riverfront.

Marilyn did some research and determined a proper diet. She went to farm supply stores and found the needed greens and other food, and bought it.

Friends of the White Geese worked to create a separate organization, the Charles River Urban Wilds Initiative, Inc. That organization feeds the geese and has allowed people to contribute with tax benefits.

A number of local merchants have been kind enough to provide expired food which can no longer be sold to humans. The Charles River White Geese and the other waterfowl are not so fussy they love it.

The Charles River Urban Wilds Initiative, Inc. has done a heroic job, faithfully keeping the Charles River White Geese alive. The destructive project at Magazine Beach feeds planners and contractors even as it has starved the geese.

D. State response.

This exchange was several weeks ago. I have not publicly mentioned it in this forum because I appreciate the courtesy of the visit in spite of its lack of accomplishment.

I gave the gentleman a list of needs. He pretty much responded that the problems were created by the DCR and he was not able to do much.

2. Machine Pontificates.

We frequently do visibilities at many events to communicate to decent people the lies routinely tossed out by the Cambridge Machine.

At one of these events, a very good worker spoke with Craig Kelley.

Kelley is a Cambridge City Councilor. He has run as an environmentalist. Kelley has a strikingly bad record on the real environmental issues. He brags about fancy light bulbs and somehow just cannot notice the repeated destruction of the REAL environment being done on his watch.

Kelley gave two basic explanations for the outrage on the Charles River. First, it is the fault of the voters. Secondly, it is too late.

A. The Fault of the Voters.

The voters are at fault, through Kelley’s reasoning, because the voters did not keep Kelley and his friends from doing the outrageous destruction which they have accomplished. This “environmental activist” expects the voters to keep him from destroying the environment and expects the voters to force him to stop environmental destruction.

B. Too Late.

(1) Pending destruction of hundreds of healthy trees which has not occurred yet.

Apparently, as far as Kelley is concerned, the promised destruction of hundreds of trees and animal habitat between the BU Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge cannot be prevented because it is too late. Last time I checked, those trees were still there. Kelley says it is too late to prevent their destruction.

(2) Toss on responsible grass seed instead of poisons.

Apparently, as far as Kelley is concerned, the destruction of the GREEN maintained grass at Magazine Beach and the introduction of sickly stuff which requires poisons to stay alive is also a fait accompli.

Strange. It does not strike me at all difficult to simply stop tossing on poisons and toss on responsible grass seed instead. Somehow, it is too late to behave in a responsible manner once grossly irresponsible behavior has been inflicted.

I find that incredible. Replacement of the introduced sickly grass in that manner would likely save money.

(3) Treat the introduced wall of bushes like all other vegetation bounding the Charles River.

The contractor welfare at Magazine Beach has been severely delayed because, after they destroyed healthy native vegetation, the introduced stuff would not live. The stuff they destroyed has routinely been destroyed on the Boston side by the state and Boston has severely criticized the state for it. Boston is concerned about migrating waterfowl and about the native vegetation. Cambridge simply destroys and brags about fancy buildings.

This introduced stuff which was not fit to live on the Charles finally took hold and has not been cut since. The state’s project manager has bragged that it starves the Charles River White Geese. It seems to have no other purpose.

While this introduced stuff is growing unchecked and starving the native animal population, the state twice a year destroys all the protective vegetation abutting the Charles.

Apparently, according to Councilor Kelley it is impossible to treat introduced vegetation in the same manner as the native protective vegetation. Councilor Kelley has not explained why it is impossible to chop down this starvation wall just like the useful stuff.

And this starvation wall is extremely harmful to the native animal population.

But Councilor Kelley brags of his fancy light bulbs.

(4) Fill in the poison drainage system.

Cambridge has spent a bunch of money creating a drainage pit system to drain off the poisons that they should not be dumping on the banks of the Charles. The drainage pits cannot possibly handle the worst of the storms.

We have proposed the responsible way to handle the poisons above. This removes the need for the poison drainage system. Even more threatening, continued presence of the poison drainage system would indicate intention to resume poisoning.

Encouragingly, the Cambridge City Council claims to be in support of open space. Returning these pits to open space use is an obvious correction for a poison drainage system which is unnecessary if you do not dump poisons.

Presumably, Mr. Kelley believes me when I call the bunch of them liars.

(5) Kill the proposed restrictions on use.

Cambridge proposes to prohibit the public from using this area which has been in public use for the better part of a century. If you even want to toss a frisbee, you have to register in advance and pay $90.


Restrictions like this have been enforced by the police at Russell Field near Alewife Station.

There is a sister facility further down the river near Massachusetts General Hospital. The state needed approvals from the Boston Conservation Commission. I told the Boston Con Comm about the plans for Magazine Beach. The Boston Conservation Commission ordered signs posted allowing public use when not scheduled.

Solution: behave responsibly.

Obviously Mr. Kelley agrees with my opinion as to the extreme irresponsibility of the Cambridge City Government.

It is too late according to Mr. Kelley. Cambridge cannot possibly behave as a decent city government like the City of Boston. THAT IS THE WAY THINGS ARE DONE IN CAMBRIDGE.

That position strikes me as irresponsible.

3. Machine to do more harm Wednesday night?

There is a group with connections to the Cambridge City Manager which claims to be a neighborhood association.

It is meeting Wednesday evening, February 23, at 7 pm for an annual meeting with a discussion of “improvements” for the Charles River coming at 7:30 pm or 8 pm.

The leader of this organization was present at a meeting of City Manager appointees a few weeks ago to discuss the introduced vegetation which seems to have no use except starving the animals. The groups enforced a three minute talking limit on people concerned about the environment. He spent what seemed like ten minutes patting his organization on the back. He never did discuss the introduced vegetation.

This meeting will be conducted in the basement of Woodrow Wilson Court, a housing project on Magazine Street in Cambridge southwest of Dana Park. The entrance used is on Fairmont Street.

Councilor Kelley has been communicating on this matter and employees of the Cambridge City Manager will be there.

It is quite certain that these self-proclaimed defenders of the environment will continue to not understand why destroying the environment and heartless animal abuse is not nice.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Response to Walz and Davis Meetings Nonsense

The following letter was published in the February 18, 2010 Cambridge Chronicle:

Cambridge Chronicle

Councilor Davis and Rep Walz have objected that the state’s meetings about the River Street and Western Avenue bridge repairs were held in Boston only, none in Cambridge.
In 2008, the state conducted three meetings about BU Bridge repairs on the BU campus and in Kendall Square. Those locations served to hide the accelerating, needless environmental destruction and heartless animal abuse in Cambridge from Cambridge residents. Now, at the River and Western bridges, the state does not have the same filthy hands.

In 2008 we objected to the state’s destructiveness and to their bad faith meetings. Davis and Walz were silent, "neutral" on both counts.
Why have they reversed themselves?

Silence is consent. Their failure to press for meetings in Cambridge indicated their approval of the animal abuse and destruction of the environment. This year they speak up to give the impression they care about the environment.

We suggest they begin to show real concern for the Charles River.

They can object to the poisons imported to Magazine Beach in commercial sod in 2008-09 and now required to keep the sickly grass there (including the seeded portions) alive. They can speak up for reseeding with the grasses and other plants that thrived there, untreated, for the better part of a century.

They can object to the DCR’s destruction of native plants along the Charles that protect migrating waterfowl. When the state destroyed those plants on the Boston side, the Boston Conservation Commission objected, but they were silent.

They’ve said human access to every foot of the riverfront is “sacred,” but they don’t object that the DCR has built a wall of plants that blocks access for thousands of feet, or that the DCR refuses to chop down only this portion of the riverfront for viewing the Head of the Charles. They’re silent on the inconsistency and on the DCR’s acknowledged reason for it: it keeps the Charles River White Geese from feeding there.

They should push the DCR to reverse this starvation policy and let the beautiful 30 year native Charles River White Geese return to their primary feeding grounds at Magazine Beach, rather than confining them to the devastated ghetto the DCR has created of their nesting area by the BU Bridge.

And why have these elected officials been silent on the DCR’s plans to destroy hundreds of trees and animal habitat along Memorial Drive? Silence is consent.

Robert J. La Trémouille and Marilyn Wellons
Co-CEO’s, Friends of the White Geese
651 Green Street

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Environmental Affairs response?

Archie Mazmanian reports as of February 11, paragraphing added:

MassDOT Secretary Mullan wrote to EOEEA on January 22, 2010, concerning its intentions for Phase 2 of the Urban Ring project. As yet, no response from EOEEA has been posted at the Urban Ring website.

Is this because EOEEA has not responded? Usually EOEEA responds quickly to letters from MassDOT (and its predecessors) regarding Urban Ring matters.

Does this suggest that MassDOT's paring back of Phase 2 may result in less transparency? Surely EOEEA should respond, perhaps even invite public comment. Without transparency, what might be done by MassDOT as it continues with Phase 2 in limited fashion?

And doesn't any continuing role of the Citizens Advisory Committee as suggested by Secretary Mullan in his January 22nd letter have to be formalized by the Commonwealth to assure compliance with the MA Open Meeting and Public Records Laws governing governmental bodies?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Diesel oil spill at MWRA plant

An accident at the MWRA Cottage Farm plant just east of the BU Bridge in Cambridge is estimated to have spilled 1000 gallons of diesel oil into the Charles. (See

As crews from Clean Harbors and the MWRA worked around us late this afternoon, the MWRA's Chief Operating Officer, Mike Hornbrook, gave me a tour of the site and explained what had happened.

Oil from a delivery yesterday had overflowed exterior pipes at the western end of the plant. Around midnight a routine inspection discovered what had spilled onto the building and driveway and into the soil toward the river. That spill was confined and cleaned up then. Only in daylight did crews see from the telltale red dye from diesel in the river, bad news that oil had spilled onto the roof of the MWRA plant, into its stormwater system, and into the water at the river's very edge, where the ice is melted.

Since then crews had been working to contain and clean up the oil. They'll continue as long as it takes to get it done, Mr. Hornbrook said.

The cleanup has meant breaking the ice about 4' from the shore and installing a boom parallel to it to contain the spill, and sopping up the oil within the dammed part. Oil that splashed onto the ice beyond the boom will also be removed, he said, as will all contaminated soil ashore.

I was very happy to learn they have also put in a boom downriver, across the water under the first arch of the BU Bridge. It extends from the goose meadow shore where Kathy Podgers and I saw the Great Blue Heron last fall to the far pier of the bridge's first arch.

When I visited the goose meadow later and looked upriver through the arch and along the shore, I could see no red on the ice or in the water. Canada geese on the river ice and in the open water had no oil on them that I could see.

At the goose meadow there were lots of Canadas and mallard ducks as well as the Charles River White Geese and Charles River White Ducks. They were very happy to get the cracked corn I had brought them. I was very happy to see they were apparently unaffected by the spill.

Mr. Hornbrook said that in addition to the MWRA and Clean Harbors, there had been people from the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Coast Guard, and the Cambridge Fire Department, Department of Public Works, and the Conservation Commission at the site today.

I thanked Mr. Hornbrook for all the information and the tour. The MWRA has always been forthcoming and helpful, true stewards of the river in my opinion. Again, as the snow fell around us, Mr. Hornbrook said the crews would stay at the site as long as it took to clean up the spill. The agency's commitment to its mission was clear to me.

Postscript added February 11, 2010

To expand a bit on the concluding paragraph:

The contrast with the DCR's stewardship is striking. That agency installed 6 acres of commercial sod at Ebersol Fields in Boston in the spring of 2006. I attended the Boston Conservation Commission hearing at which the DCR asked for permission to add "Tartan," a fungicide not to be applied near water, to the usual mix of chemicals applied to the turf. The ConCom granted that permission.

As reported here previously, runoff from that sod and its continuing chemical maintenance fed the astronomical algae bloom of August and September 2006 and cancellation of the first Charles River swim. Thus fed, the algae continued their annual blooms at toxic levels thereafter and repeatedly forced the DCR to move the annual swim ever earlier, to try to beat the blooms. Reports were that you could smell the fertilizer from the fields in the middle of the river.

The DCR has never acknowledged its crime against the environment and creation of a public health hazard at Ebersol Fields. MEPA and the EPA and the Charles River Watershed Association know what the DCR did there but have failed to inform the public.

At a 2008 neighborhood meeting in Cambridgeport both the DCR planner and Charles River district manager blandly denied the DCR uses chemicals on the river at all. When asked why, if this were now indeed the case, they had changed their policy since installing the sod at Ebersol Fields in 2006, they sat wide-eyed and silent.

Ominously, the DCR and Cambridge have refused to say what chemicals are in the sod they installed at Magazine Beach in 2008 or what chemicals they will use to maintain it.

Again, in my opinion, the MWRA stands in stark contrast to the DCR in its stewardship of our public assets.

Marilyn Wellons

1000 gallons of diesel fuel added to habitat of Charles River White Geese.

Bob La Trémouille reports:

An accident today, February 10, 2010, has apparently added to the heartless treatment of the beautiful Charles River White Geese.

The Cambridge Chronicle has reported that 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel has been dumped into the Charles River at the MWRA pollution plant a few hundred feet from the location to which the heartless Governor Patrick, local reps and the Cambridge City Council have confined the beautiful Charles River White Geese.

The report may be read at:

I am confident we will get a whole bunch of pious stuff out of the hypocrites but the last thing they will mention is the victims they have now been heartlessly abusing for years as part of various bizarre projects while lying that they are decent human beings and pro-environment.

More cons from the Cambridge Machine.

1. Introduction.
2. Walz lies about herself.
3. The Cambridge Machine lies about itself and worse.
4. Summary.

Bob La Trémouille reports.

1. Introduction.

The major destructive games going on on the Charles River are in the Magazine Beach / BU Bridge area and east to the Longfellow Bridge.

This features REALLY rotten stunts from The Machine.

So, of course, they are now yelling about the River Street and Western Avenue bridges, PLUS trying to destroy the environment there as well.

Serious environmental destruction being fought for by The Machine, but the really rotten stuff is the Magazine Beach / BU Bridge area and east to the Longfellow Bridge.

2. Walz lies about herself.

The standard game is not direct lying. It is pontificating about much less important stuff and misdirection to the much less important stuff. The lie is the implication that the speaker is a responsible individual and that she is yelling about the important stuff.

State Representative Martha Walz is taking credit for meetings in Cambridge concerning the River Street and Western Avenue Bridges.

Walz, of course, was deadly silent about all three meetings on the BU Bridge being kept away from the affected part of Cambridge.

Walz has bragged about the bizarre waste of money going on at Magazine Beach with outrageous environmental destruction and heartless animal abuse, neglecting to mention the latter two.

Walz was neutral about the failure to mitigate harm to the Charles River White Geese in the BU Bridge project.

Walz was neutral about the needless environmental destruction in the BU Bridge project.

Walz is silent about the hundreds of healthy trees and animal habitat being destroyed between the BU Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge.

So Walz was silent about the BU Bridge meetings being held in secret and is yelling about the meeting place of the meetings on much less important Western Avenue / River Street bridges.

A truly reprehensible person (quoting a civil rights judge) lying about a really rotten record through misdirection.

3. The Cambridge Machine lies about itself and worse.

The Cambridge Machine creates all sorts of lovely, fake organizations designed to false impression that they are on the side they claim to be on.

One of these entities calls itself some sort of environment name including the word “port”. It has been belligerently “neutral” concerning the outrages on the Charles River. Its members were active in this major lie of an environmental congress, declaring piety about fancy buildings and not wanting to know about environmental destruction.

Now the other shoe is dropping. These groups have two fold functions: First they prevent people from standing up to irresponsible behavior. Secondly, they help irresponsible behavior.

This holding a public meeting to gin up support for the highway activists fighting to make work on the Charles River more environmentally destruction. The highway activists, of course, have close connections to the fake environmental group.

4. Summary.

What else can I say?

The Cambridge Machine is proving itself as “reprehensible” as ever.

Love that judge!!!

Monday, February 08, 2010

MassDOT meeting concerning the River Street and Western Avenue Bridges

1. Introductory.
2. Western Avenue and River Street bridges in context.
3. Location of Meeting.
4. Meeting.
A. General, state plans.
B. Anti-environment lobby comments.
C. My Comments.
D. Marilyn’s Comments.
E. The Cambridge pol comments.
5. Summary.

Bob La Trémouille reports.

1. Introductory.

Last Wednesday evening, February 3, The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) conducted a public presentation concerning bridge repairs on the next two bridges to the west of the nearly 30 year habitat of the Charles River White Geese.

This is a very preliminary report. Marilyn will follow with a better report.

2. Western Avenue and River Street bridges in context.

These bridges are the Western Avenue bridge and the River Street Bridge. The Western Avenue bridge connects Western Avenue in Cambridge to Western Avenue in the Allston neighborhood of Boston. The River Street bridge connects River Street in Cambridge to Cambridge Street in Allston.

On the Cambridge side, River Street and Western Avenue connect at Central Square in Cambridge forming a very large, elongated triangle. On the Allston side, Western Avenue connects to Arsenal Street in Watertown. Western Avenue is now very easily 50% owned by Harvard University. Cambridge Street connect to Union Square Allston and then ends at Brighton Center, with Caritas St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center to its south and the Brighton branch of the Boston Police Department on its North. Brighton Center is to the west.

The other key streets impacted by these bridges are Memorial Drive on the Cambridge side of the Charles River and Soldiers Field Road with access roads on the Boston / Allston side of the Charles River. River Street is one way northbound to Central Square; Western Avenue is one way south bound from Central Square. The two combine with the bridges and an access road to the south of Soldiers’ Field Road which is one way east bound in this area to form a massive traffic circle. Direct ramps to and from Soldiers’ Field Road and to and from the Massachusetts Turnpike combine to make this a very complicated traffic arrangement.

In spite of the complexities, the system works quite well.

The 30 year habitat habitat of the Charles River White Geese is centered on the BU Bridge, the next bridge to the east of these bridges. It extends to the west about half the distance to the River Street Bridge.

3. Location of Meeting.

The meeting was conducted at the Allston Branch of the Boston Public Library on North Harvard Street between Western Avenue and Cambridge Street, about half a mile or a mile distant from the complicated intersection and bridges. Cambridge has two school facilities with auditoriums which are probably closer to this massive intersection / bridge arrangement.

4. Meeting.

A. General, state plans.

The state presented a number of plans of the area. In sharp contrast to the BU Bridge project, this project seems to have negligible impact on the environment and on local animals.

The state plans would appear to have negligible change in which is a well working interchange. The just will rebuild the two quite old bridges to ensure that they live another 75 years. They hope to add bike lanes if that is feasible.

B. Anti-environment lobby comments.

The destructiveness comes from the developer lobby.

One well organized bunch of lobbyists wants to add a small vehicle highway under the bridges impacting the Charles River with some sort of connection to Memorial Drive.

The successor to the Friends of Magazine Beach, the Charles River Conservancy supports this destructiveness and asks that its own contribution to environmental destruction in the area be continued. That is a bunch of lights at the water level which destroy night time habitat for resident animals, birds and fish. These have been added in recent years.

C. My Comments.

I objected to the light pollution and encouraged the state to rebuild in an historically responsible way and environmentally responsible way, without the lights. I omitted the highway addition out of oversight.

I did ask that signs be added to the River Street bridge to correct incompetent design by the predecessor agency, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, formerly the Metropolitan District Commission.

They, in the Boston tradition, keep the traffic direction on the bridge secret from those riding on it. This is common in the City of Boston. By keeping the traffic direction secret from those traveling in the legal direction, Boston makes their one way streets safer for wrong way drivers.

The impact on the River Street bridge is that the left lane, the lane the wrong way traffic would be coming, sees much less use than the middle and right lane, perhaps 50% less because a lot of people do not know they are on a one way street.

A few people do attempt to turn left onto Memorial Drive from the middle lane. It is impossible to tell if this is because of the bad signage or simply Massachusetts driving.

If MassDOT shows a minimal level of competence, in contrast to the predecessor agencies, a few signs, as required by highway sign standards, can be located at the southern end of the bridge identifying this one way street as a one way street. These signs would correct the lane use oddities and give the illegal left turn people one less excuse.

D. Marilyn’s Comments.

The Charles River parkland was created a hundred years ago explicitly to give us humans continued access to a rural landscape as the cities expanded. It was to be our refuge from city life—including the press of our fellow humans—a place to restore the human body and spirit.

This remains its primary function, but you’d never know that from comments at the DOT meeting.

Years ago automobile enthusiasts got huge sections of parkland paved over for Storrow Drive, Soldiers Field Road, Memorial Drive, Greenough Boulevard—so-called parkways that are actually limited access highways. Now the very people who deplore what the auto has done to our health and the environment want to pave over much of what remains for limited access highways for cyclists. For the River Street, Western Ave., and Anderson Bridges they want underpasses for cyclists through the abutments. The underpasses would require redesign of structures on the National Register of Historic Places, realignment of existing pavement on both sides of the river, and chew up yet more parkland at the bridges themselves.

The DCR is steward of this land. In return for fees from the Head of the Charles and its concessionaires, the DCR has caused acres of public parkland to disappear into the river as its own and others’ vehicles churn landfill back into marsh and the overcut banks erode. So it’s no surprise the DCR’s booster club, the Charles River Conservancy, favors the underpasses and additional paving.

The CRC’s ornamental lighting of the bridges pollutes the nighttime environment. In response to comments about that, the lighting designer said they add less than 1000 kilowatts. When asked after the meeting if that meant they didn’t contribute to light pollution, he repeated the figure, then pointed to light pollution from street lights and declared himself happy with his work.

The DCR official at the meeting made a confused and/or confusing point, the gist of which was that DOT work on the Charles River bridges enjoys exemption from environmental review, but the DCR was handicapped in having to go before Conservation Commissions for work when the bridges were under their control. (As we know, DCR plans still govern the work at the BU Bridge and gratuitously destroy the environment there.)

At the time and afterwards I have tried to understand the point.

The DCR itself invoked Chapter 91 for its work at the BU Bridge, to exempt itself from the Cambridge ConCom’s powers to protect habitat at the goose meadow. When the DCR’s contractor illegally began work there on August 25, 2009 without the required notice to the ConCom, the ConCom stopped the work. In short order, however, it allowed work to resume, even though the DCR still lacked the Ch. 91 license—the Governor did not sign it until September 30, 2009.

For the BU Bridge the DCR chose a stormwater system that destroys most of the goose meadow. It has not chosen that system for the River Street and Western Avenue bridges. When I asked the DCR official why, he shrugged his shoulders. (When I asked why the CRC supports paving over more parkland, he said it has “a more European vision” for the river.)

If the DCR has labored under some handicap to comply with the Wetlands Protection Act I have failed to see it. In addition to this most recent example of illegality at the BU Bridge, there has been the illegal destruction of the goose meadow in 1999, the destruction of habitat falsely said not to exist at Magazine Beach, the failure of the 2004 "restoration" there to protect water quality and the 2008-09 installation of chemically-maintained commercial sod.

Given all this I wonder:

1. why we should think the DCR is more environmentally responsible than DOT;
2. why we should feel sorry for the DCR if it has been held to a higher standard;
3. why the DCR thinks it's held to a higher standard since it routinely circumvents, flouts, or gets a pass on whatever regulations the Cambridge ConCom might enforce; and
4. why the Cambridge ConCom routinely gives the DCR a pass on the repeated violations of the Wetlands Protection Act on the Charles River. Friends of the White Geese have documented these violations at ConCom meetings through the years, beginning in 2000.

On the last point, I remember the Mass. Audubon official who told me the then-MDC broke the law all the time and Mass Audubon couldn’t go after them on everything. Yes, it’s important to choose your battles. Yet the DCR’s free run on the Charles River in Cambridge is quite remarkable. It has gotten passes from Mass Audubon, the Cambridge ConCom, the Accelerated Bridge Program, and our elected officials.

Can we expect to lose yet more parkland to DCR development? Preserving the land costs little. Infrastructure development costs a lot.

E. The Cambridge pol comments.

Councilor Davis and Representative Walz demonstrated striking arrogance.

Last year, the DCR conducted two meetings on the BU Bridge repairs on the BU campus and one in Kendall Square. The Kendall Square meeting was further from the site than the BU campus meetings.

The reason was obvious.

The BU Bridge repairs involve needless environmental destruction and needless increase in harm to the Charles River White Geese. No mediation was proposed and none was implemented.

I objected loudly.

Walz and Davis are long fighters for heartless animal abuse and environmental destruction in the BU Bridge area. The were silent with a wink and a nod.

They are also silent with a wink and a nod to the pending destruction in Cambridge of hundreds of healthy trees and animal habitat between the BU Bridge and the second bridge to the east.

Davis was there last Wednesday. She went from “neutrality” loudly objected to the failure to locate the INCONSEQUENTIAL meetings on these two bridges in Cambridge.

She went from “neutrality” to a bad location for neetings when there is involved heartless animal abuse and environmental destruction involved, which she supports to objecting to a bad location when the meetings are inconsequential.

Walz has distributed emails objecting to the location.

5. Summary.

More lying about which side they are on by the pols.

The developer lobby works closely with them.

The pols want the irresponsible behavior from Magazine Beach to the east buried.

The pols want to get the destructiveness of the developer lobby implemented.

The pols want to lie to the voters about which side they are on.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Monteiro case top ten but not top 10?

1. Introductory.
2. Letter to MLW Editor.
3. Reporter: Top ten award, but will not correct list.

Bob La Trémouille reports.

1. Introductory.

The case of Malvina Monteiro is yet another excellent example to put the lie to the City of Cambridge’s non-stop claims to progressive sainthood.

The city council is clearly anti-environment while using their massive machine to lie that they are pro-environment.

Looking at the case of Malvina Monteiro v. City of Cambridge is very difficult to say that the situation is any different with regard to civil rights.

Judge and jury found that Cambridge destroyed the life of Malvina Monteiro, a black Cape Verdean woman serving as head of their Police Review Board. They found that this was in retaliation for her filing a civil rights complaint. The judge’s opinion did a very good job of proving the word “reprehensible” with regard to the City of Cambridge.

On reading the judge’s opinion, which is reported on this blog at, I came to an opinion as to the action which would be appropriate for a pro-civil rights city council.

That action would be to vote to obtain an order from the judge firing the City Manager without pension and without golden parachute.

The Cambridge City Council has not so voted. They have not even been faced with a motion to fire the City Manager without pension and without golden parachute. Much the worse, the Cambridge City Council, with this excellent opinion in front of them, voted to fund an appeal.

The jury verdict was for slightly over $4.5 million including $3.5 million penal. The judgment was for slightly over $5 million.

I, as an attorney, religiously read Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

MLW does an annual top ten awards list. I looked for Monteiro in the 2008 list and in the 2009 list. Neither time was it reported on the list although the size of the award would seem to indicate that it should be.

2. Letter to MLW Editor.

I sent the following letter off to the MLW Editor early this morning, February 2, by email:


Henriette Campagne, Esq.
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

Dear Ms. Campagne,

I could be wrong, but I am surprised that the case of Malvina Monteiro, et. al. v. City of Cambridge et al, Middlesex Superior #MICV2001-02737 did not appear in your January 25 report on the largest verdicts of 2009. I thought that last year I was surprised that it did not appear on the list of 2008 verdicts, so I looked for it again very deliberately.

Jury verdict came down on May 23, 2008 for slightly over $4.5 million with $3.5 million penal. At the time of your 2008 report, Monteiro was in post trial motions. Since then judgment has been entered on June 2, 2009 for slightly over $5 million with interest and the case is now in post judgment motions.

This is the case in which Judge and Jury found that the Cambridge City Manager fired this Black Cape Verdean Woman who was the head of the Cambridge Police Review Board in retaliation for her filing a civil rights complaint. The key judge’s opinion was notable for the use of the word “reprehensible” with regard to the Cambridge City Manager.

I note that case #4 this year, $6.4 million, is in post trial motions, and that Monteiro would appear to fall between case #6, $5.26 million and #7, $3.9 million.

My memory was that I looked last year and that it would have fallen in the top ten then but was not reported.

Is my memory wrong? Or should one of the two reports be corrected?

Thank you for whatever input you can provide.

3. Reporter: Top ten award, but will not correct list.

This morning I got a call from an MLW reporter who indicated that Monteiro should have been listed in the 2008 list of top ten awards of 2008 because the jury verdict came down in that year and the award was large enough.

He stated that the lawyer obtaining the award has been honored by MLW because of the case but that their list would not be corrected.