Friday, July 30, 2010

Cambridge announces Monteiro appeal, gets value wrong

Bob La Trémouille reports:

It is always difficult to figure out what comes out of the City of Cambridge, but here goes.

Yesterday, July 29, there were two media reports of the appeal in the case of Malvina Monteiro v. City of Cambridge. Both got the value wrong. One reported that they had tried to contact the Plaintiff’s attorney without success. So the report with its error must have come from Cambridge. Since Cambridge is the appealing party, it is possible the appellate papers have the same error.

Final judgment entered May 25.

My calculation of the numbers came in the low to middle $6 million. The Cambridge Chronicle, at that time, quoted the Plaintiff’s attorney at $6.9 million.

Appeal was filed on July 16. I reported the appeal on this blog on July 21.

Yesterday, Lawyers USA and the Chronicle reported the appeal, quoting the value at $4.5 million, a modest understatement of the value before the post judgment motions. Coming from the Chronicle, that lower number is quite telling, since two months ago, they were saying $6.9 million.

My reading, because of the error and the Chronicle’s statement that they could not contact the Plaintiff’s attorney, is that the information was put out by Cambridge. Very interesting that Cambridge would understate the value by $2 million. But that is the City of Cambridge for you.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cambridge Council Playing Environment Games, Again

Bob La Trémouille reports:

I have submitted the following letter to the Cambridge Chronicle. It was published on line on July 28, 2010.

Cambridge Chronicle

I am pleased to see that, for the time being, Cambridge will not destroy four excellent street trees near Hoyt Field. This would have followed on the destruction of 12 even better street trees behind the Hyatt Regency and on major destruction of trees around the Magazine Beach footbridge.

One or more city councilors will tell us about an “effort” to “improve” regulation of street tree destruction. Playing with these regulations commenced one week after the city council voted to allow destruction of 17,000 square feet of densely grown trees for highway construction. The council voted to exempt themselves from public hearing on this destruction.

Environmental destruction by the City Council and the City is far more massive than their irresponsible destruction of street trees. Thus street tree regulations were silly when passed and “improving” them does not make the regulations less silly.

There is the coming destruction of the main part of the Alewife reservation by Cambridge and its friends. There is the ongoing destruction of perhaps thousand of trees at Fresh Pond by Cambridge. There is the planned destruction of hundreds of excellent trees on Memorial Drive by the state working closely with Cambridge.

There is the dumping of poisons on Magazine Beach to keep alive sickly grass introduced after the destruction of healthy green grass which survived the better part of a century without poisons. There is the decrease in size of those playing fields for a drainage system to drain off poisons which should not even be there. There is the wall of introduced bushes walling off the Charles River from Magazine Beach. There is the nonstop, heartless abuse of the beautiful, 30 year native Charles River White Geese.

Cambridge public works projects are routinely destructive.

The City Council and its friends do not want people to know of their ongoing destruction of our world. They want to talk about what they do not destroy.

The Monteiro civil rights judge accurately called Cambridge “reprehensible.” She gave the City Council a strong argument for firing the city manager without pension and without golden parachute, with permission of court. Her initiative would go some way to save our environment as well.

Regrettably, the environmental and city manager problems rest on a city council which wants to brag about what it has not destroyed rather than stopping the destruction of which it is such a clear part.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Appeal filed in Monteiro Case

Bob La Trémouille reports:

The case of MALVINA MONTEIRO & others vs. CITY OF CAMBRIDGE has been entered as an appeal in the Massachusetts Appeals Court. The case number is 2010-P-1240.

It was entered on July 16, 2010.

The appealing party is the City of Cambridge.

Brief (legal argument) is due from the City of Cambridge on August 25, 2010.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Archie Mazmanian reports on the latest developments of the Urban Ring Phase 2:

My prodding of MEPA to respond to Commissioner Mullan’s letter of January 22, 2010, resulted (email response 5/13/10) in being informed that the response, following its preparation, would be posted at MEPA’s website:

I checked this website from time to time, finding it quite difficult to navigate. Finally, after learning from the Urban Ring website of the CAC’s July 13th meeting, I went upstream, downstream, and finally located MEPA’s June 22nd response to Commissioner Mullan in advance of the CAC meeting. Unfortunately, I was unable to retrace my journey so as to provide a link. The Urban Ring website did not post or provide a link to MEPA’s response.

One of the handouts at the July 13th CAC meeting was a “spreadsheet” 5 pages in length headed “MassDOT Urban Ring Planning Progress Report (July 8, 2010).” One of the items is “Urban Ring website transfer” which is in progress to a new website hosted by MassDOT: expected to be launched sometime this Summer. A recent check indicates it is not in place as yet.

In the meantime, if someone is able to pinpoint MEPA’s June 22nd response at its website, it would be appreciated if the URL could be provided to this Blog for purposes of a link. The response is quite interesting and calls for careful scrutiny. For example, the response includes the following:

“Moreover, I concur with MassDOT’s assessment that continuing the review of this project which, according to the long-range Regional Transportation Plan adopted by the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization, is not slated for construction within the next twenty years makes meaningful environmental impact review difficult to achieve.”
And what does this mean for the public’s mass transit needs in the Greater Boston area today? In twenty years, if I make it, I’ll be celebrating my 100th birthday. In the meantime, I’ll be marking time; alas, no one will be able to “Mark Twain” at the Charles River crossing proposed for Phase 2 of the Urban Ring as the Commonwealth and Cambridge continue their Charles River White Geese “killing fields” projects.

Stayed tuned for follow up.

Archie Mazmanian

Monday, July 19, 2010

Magazine Beach poison drainage, trees near Phil Barber photos.

Bob La Trémouille reports:

The Charles River White Geese have been cherished natives of the Charles River for nearly 30 years.

For most of that time, they lived a migratory life in a one mile habitat centered on the BU Bridge. Most of their days, they fed at Magazine Beach. Part of the year, and in the worst storms, they lived at their nesting area which is the only part of the habitat not yet destroyed to them, just 3/4 destroyed with no remediation.

The Cambridge voted to destroy the playing fields and animal habitat at the seven acre Magazine Beach. This has been implemented along with the outrages at the nesting area under the watch of Governor Patrick.

When the plans were first proposed by the Cambridge City Manager, the response of the public was very uniform. This hillside to the west of the playing fields could use some work. The playing fields themselves were very clearly in no need for “improvement.”

As part of their implementation of the Cambridge City Manager plans, the state created a master plan for the Charles River which showed Magazine Beach as a lawn to the Charles River.

The state introduced massive bushes blocking off the Charles River from Magazine Beach and starving the Charles River White Geese by blocking off their food.

Starting in 2000 and repeatedly since then, the state has repeatedly proclaimed “no intent” to harm the Charles River White Geese. They have since explained that starving them is not harming them in their world.

When the Cambridge City Council voted funds to assist in the environmental destruction, the explanation was that they were “improving” open space. How does blocking off the Charles River and starving the residents “improve” open space? The Cambridge City Council and their undisclosed representatives do not want to discuss that.

Cambridge and Patrick destroyed seven acres worth of grass at Magazine Beach which had survived the better part of a century green, without poisons.

Cambridge and Patrick replaced the green native vegetation with sickly stuff that needs poisons to survive. To keep the poisons that should not even be there out of the Charles River, Cambridge and Patrick have introduced large drainage ditches a few feet from the Charles to drain off the poisons that need not be there.

This drainage system replaces food for the Charles River White Geese, if they could get beyond the barrier.

This drainage system replaces playing fields that are the supposed excuse of Cambridge and Patrick for this outrage.

So they have replaced perfectly good playing fields and animal food with poisoned grass, smaller playing fields, and a drainage system to drain off poisons that should not even be dumped on the banks of the Charles River.

Here are photos of the drainage system taken in the last few weeks.

The major trees shown in the rear are trees which have not been destroyed, although significant recent destruction has occurred here, in the Destroyed Nesting Area and a massive destruction of excellent trees behind the Hyatt Regency just east of the Destroyed Nesting. Cambridge brags of being a tree city. Cambridge brags of saplings planted. Cambridge keeps secret healthy trees and healthy environment needlessly destroyed. Yet another lie from a very destructive government.

The photos provided by Phil Barber and recently printed are of major destruction very close to the trees in the background, if not some of these trees. Phil’s photos may be found at

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Archie Mazmanian reports, Bob La Trémouille ed.:

Mark Twain has been in the news recently with reports that Volume 1 of his autobiography will be published this November, 100 years following his demise pursuant to his directions. This brings to mind the premature publication of Twain’s obituary that triggered his cable from London stating: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

I attended the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting on the Urban Ring on July 13, 2010, its first public meeting since January 11, 2010, that I reported on at this Blog. The January 11th meeting was followed with MassDOT Commissioner Mullan’s two letters of January 15th and 22nd to MEPA in effect suspending many aspects of Phase 2 of the Urban Ring from MEPA review.

Finally on June 22nd, MEPA responded to Mr. Mullan. Prior thereto, with several Emails, I had prodded MEPA about responding to MassDOT. MEPA’s response [ed: Archie will provide the link with installment 2 of the report.] is quite detailed, pointing out concurrence with Mr. Mullan’s proposals in his letter but also reminding him that MEPA compliance may be determined to be required from time to time for various aspects of actions proposed to be taken on certain segments of Phase 2. After several readings of MEPA’s response, I can understand why it took five (5) months.

Attendance of CAC members seemed quite sparse at its July 13th meeting and a quorum may have been lacking. However, there were many MassDOT department personnel present, including a new spokesperson from MassDot for the Urban Ring.

I do not plan with this submission to summarize the meeting but wish to point out how disjointed it was. There were suggestions that perhaps subcommittees or select members of the CAC had been meeting with MassDOT and the compact communities following the January 11th meeting. During the public comment period, I mentioned the need for the CAC to be in compliance with both the Open Meeting and Public Records Laws of the Commonwealth as down the road the public may be addressing such compliance. Tom Nally, CAC Chair, said he would look into whether such Laws apply to the CAC.

The elephants in the room remain: (1) the Charles River crossing and (2) the Longwood/Fenway area. Since the January 11th CAC meeting, MassDOT has completed certain CSX acquisitions. Newspaper reports spoke of the Framingham commuter rail tracking to North Station, presumably via the Grand Junction Rail Line (GJRL) under the BU Bridge. My public comments made reference to this, pointing out possible physical conflicts with two lanes for 60-foot long BRT Buses somehow maneuvering from a reconstructed trestle to then go over the rails on the Boston side from the west to the east side of the BU Bridge by means of a short tunnel to surface at Boston University’s Academy site along University Road to cross Commonwealth Avenue to the Carlton Street Bridge in Brookline (and on to the Longwood/Fenway area). At present, the trestle provides only a single set of tracks; it would seem that a double set of tracks would be required for what could be a busy commuter rail line to justify MassDOT’s investment.

The Phase 2 route from the Charles River crossing to and through the Longwood/Fenway area continues on hold. Meantime, traffic and transportation issues in that area continue to pile up and will worsen once construction starts on Parcel 7, Kenmore Square, air rights over the MA Turnpike Extension, a humongous development. And of course the BU Bridge construction will be with us for at least another year.

I shall submit further reports on the recent CAC meeting. (Its next public meeting is tentatively scheduled for October 13th.)

Like Mark Twain, the CAC may be saying: “Reports of the death of Phase 2 of the Urban Ring are greatly exaggerated.” But how effective may be the CAC’s CPR?

Archie Mazmanian

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Photos of Tree Destruction

Bob La Trémouille reports:

Phil Barber has sent me two emails and photo attachments. The following are the emails. Below are the photos.

Phil Barber Reports:

Report 1, 6/30/10, 7:54 pm

Hi Bob, I hope this finds you well.

I was dismayed to see this evening that the arboricides have struck again. You’ve probably seen this already (I haven’t been down to the river much of late) but they’ve cut down a number of mature oaks, maples, and others near the footbridge over Mem Drive at Magazine Beach on both sides. Another upsetting and unnecessary loss!

Take care,

Report 2, 7/1/10, 10:01 am

Hi Bob, here's some shots I took yesterday of the denuded wide-open spaces, etc. These best show what was taken, I'd say at least half a dozen big trees and some smaller ones