The Mayor has scheduled a special regular meeting of the city council for tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 20, at 9 am. The meeting will allow us to work through the backlog of items from meetings that were cancelled due to this month's historic snowfall. The meeting will be held in the CRLS Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway and is expected to start with public comment. Anything that we do not get tomorrow is expected to be carried over to the regular meeting scheduled for 5:30 pm, Monday, Feb. 23.
The complete agenda is available here on the council's website. Here are some of the policy orders that I have sponsored or co-sponsored on tomorrow's agenda:
Order #18 aims to get the City to switch from using a conventional blend of fossil fuel-based electricity to 100% renewable energy for all municipal operations (i.e. city buildings, schools, street lights, etc.). Presently, the City's electric power is supplied via a contract with TransCanada, the corporate entity behind the Keystone XL Pipeline. After meeting with members of Mothers Out Front, I was inspired to switch my own electricity to 100% renewable — and we drafted this policy order to ask the City to do the same. Full text of the policy order and background material is posted here on my blog.
Order #29 seeks to preserve a long-awaited opportunity to create a large public park as part of the pending redevelopment of the Volpe Center in Kendall Square. This issue is very important to East Cambridge residents — and has implications for the city as a whole. More information can be found in this recent New York Times report, and also, here on my blog.
Order #16 calls on the City to be fully transparent in our dealings with Boston 2024, the private-entity that unilaterally put us in the running to host the 2024 Olympic Games. This order also looks to protect the ability of City Staff to offer their professional opinions on matters relating to the Olympics, and in addition, it supports efforts to put the question of the 2024 Games to a popular vote. There's more about this policy order (which was inspired by Cambridge resident Saul Tannenbaum) here in Boston Magazine: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2015/01/22/cambridge-policy-order-2024-olympics/
Order #10 calls on the City Manager to fund the position of Ombudsman for the Community Development Department. I am pleased to co-sponsor this order with Councillors Cheung and Mazen; too often there is a sense that the City's development process favors large, speculative interests over the input of residents and neighborhood groups. What's needed is balance, and an Ombudsman who would directly serve residents working to advance the public interest makes all the sense in the world. Full text of this policy order is here: http://www2.cambridgema.gov/cityClerk/PolicyOrder.cfm?item_id=47164
In addition, I have also filed orders to address the corrupting influence of money in politics, to follow up on the state-level effort to craft safety regulations for ride-share services such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, and finally, an order to facilitate organics collection at City Hall and other key municipal buildings.
Also, we will soon be announcing a rescheduled date for the plastic bag ban hearing. Thank you to the many hundreds of residents who wrote to the council in support of this big step forward for sustainability in our city. An update on the process appears on Friday's agenda as City Manager's Agenda Item #6, and there's lots more about our effort to enact a strong plastic bag ban here on my city council blog: http://www.denniscarlone.org/plastic_bag_ban_amendments
If you wish to offer testimony on any of these items, please join us tomorrow morning at 9 am and add your name to the public comment list. Alternatively, you may email the full council at firstname.lastname@example.org and reference the item number and, if you wish to be added to the communications record, also copy the City Clerk at email@example.com.
Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.