On Wednesday June 19, twenty-six Cambridge residents filed a citizens’ zoning petition that would require most large building construction projects to meet a standard of net zero emissions of greenhouse gasses.
The petition spells out what is meant by a net zero emissions standard, which includes energy efficiency, on site renewable energy generation, and use of energy supply from renewable sources or renewable energy credits (RECs) in the daily operation of the building.
The petition was initiated by Green Cambridge, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to create a more sustainable city. Longtime activists John Pitkin and Quinton Zondervan, in consultation with various building design experts and community activists, drafted the petition language. Zondervan serves as the chairperson of the city’s Climate Protection Action Committee.
The petition was submitted by Cambridge attorney Mike Connolly, who serves as the Secretary of the Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods and is committed to organizing support for the petition: “Given the urgency of climate change, it’s very important that new construction does not contribute to global warming. We need to make the transition from relying on fossil fuel derived energy sources to primarily using renewable energy sources, and it is our hope that this petition will set us on that path.”
The “Connolly Petition” is on the City Council agenda for June 24, 2013 and the full text and drawings of the petition are available from the city’s website. It is expected that the petition will be referred to the Planning Board and the city council’s Ordinance Committee for public hearings this summer.
Supporters of the petition are in the process of forming a committee to facilitate further discussion and outreach in the coming weeks.
After discussions with family and friends over the past few days, I have decided not to enter the race for Cambridge City Council.
I am grateful to everyone who encouraged me to run and humbled by the offers of support that I have received from around the city.
However, in looking at the very large field of likely contenders, I think it’s clear that voters will have no shortage of promising choices on November 5th.
I know many of the candidates on a personal level, and frankly, I feel like this year’s race will be remarkably competitive (and good for the city).
As an active member of the community and as the Secretary of the Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods, I look forward to doing my part to promote civic participation and a robust discussion of the issues and opportunities of our time.
As expected, the city council voted to approve the Massachusetts Institute of Technology proposal to add nearly 1 million square feet of commercial office space to the grounds of the institute’s East Campus by Kendall Square. The zoning change clears the way for MIT to build large, corporate office towers on a tract of land that had previously been earmarked for future research and academic needs.
For all the jobs, taxes and benefits that will be created by this new construction, the fact remains that the MIT plan comes up short in two areas of great concern to all Cantabrigians: housing and sustainability.
Over the past few months, through a series of public statements, only one presumptive City Council candidate has consistently raised awareness about the two major flaws in this massive upzoning deal. That candidate is Mike Connolly.
Last year, with the help of an incredible group of friends, neighbors, and volunteers, I was able to mount a competitive campaign for State Representative without accepting any financial contributions.
We didn't quite win the election (most folks don't win their first time out) — but thanks to our 93 volunteers, we earned a remarkable chunk of the vote in what the Phoenix called "one of the most exciting" races in the country.
A few weeks later, I was approached by members of the MIT community who asked me to help raise awareness about the plight of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are struggling with the insanely-priced Cambridge rental housing market.
As I learned about the situation — and about MIT's plans to build a series of corporate office towers in the middle of campus — I had the opportunity to attend dozens of meetings and chat with hundreds of residents all over town.
In early February, I published a 1,600-word essay in Cambridge Day that showed how the city could effectively open up a large stock of rental housing if MIT would offer more housing to its grad students. The essay received a tremendous response and was picked up by at least a half-dozen other news sources...
Thank you once again for your support during our recent campaign for State Representative. I hope you had a chance to read the recap and thank you message that I sent out to all of our supporters a few weeks ago.
Now that the campaign season is over, I am eagerly getting back to doing what I was doing prior to running for office — grassroots organizing and local activism to advance the progressive agenda...
It's been two weeks since Election Day — and in case you missed it, Tim Toomey won the race for State Representative with 68% of the vote; we came in second-place with 26% of the vote, and Republican Tom Vasconcelos finished third with 5% of the vote.
It wasn't the outcome that we were hoping for — but nevertheless, it's pretty awesome to think about how much we accomplished in such a short amount of time...
When I started organizing this campaign back in the spring, my goal was clear: I set out to provide the people of Cambridge and Somerville with an independent, progressive alternative to the status quo on Beacon Hill — and I was determined to do it without accepting any financial contributions...