Several days ago the City of Cambridge sent out these postcards to city residents. These cards seem to have gone out in several batches, but this one was received on July 23. On this side of the card we read the core arguments the city is using to support the up-zoning proposal that is being rushed through towards a September vote.
Cambridge citizens have yet to be provided with any information on the Affordable Housing Overlay's core design guidelines. This will presumably come at the August 1 City Council Ordinance meeting. Unfortunately Cambridge citizens likely will not have had enough time between their formal submission and the Ordinance Committee meeting to critically evaluate these guidelines before our allotted 3 (or more likely 2) minutes of time to voice any lingering concerns we have at this meeting. Hardly a well thought through community and democratic process
The city's decision to send this postcard also seems to many of us as yet one more example of their continuing propaganda campaign, at the tax payer's expense, to promote this deeply flawed proposal.
Missing on this postcard advertisement is any mention of how tall these units would be - 4-5 stories - allowable as of right in every neighborhood citywide, or 7 stories if the building is already 4 stories. No where on the card does it say that potentially a significant number of mature trees and green spaces will be removed so that these housing projects can be as large (dense) as possible by maxing out square footage within the property.
Missing on this postcard is any mention of what many of us are learning, through other sources, that the City is seriously LOW-BALLING the number of these units that will be built in the new stream-lined (greatly relaxed) process, or that the unelected City Manager (in part in his role as Chair of the Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust) will control this whole endeavor, funneling taxpayer resources to the four or so favored developers, presumably excluding most everyone else.
Why the stark lavender design of empty tall buildings at the lower right? For some, this recalls the shells of buildings constructed by global real estate investors and developers in places like Vietnam that sit there, empty of local inhabitants, while the pockets of the builders and investors fill to capacity.
Above is the front of the card, with various resident groups and areas being coded differently. We learn some of the key upcoming dates, August 1 especially.
Missing here is September 9 when the City Council likely will first vote on this up-zoning plan.
Missing here is September 23, the likely date of the Council's second and final vote on this up-zoning plan.
Missing here is September 28 when this mess of a politically charged and deeply flawed petition will either have been enacted by the Council OR will have died.
Missing here is November 5, the date of the next City Council Election, when the memories of how Councillors voted on this terrible proposal will be still fresh in voters' minds.
Missing here is the period between September 23 and November 2, when CCC will be active in getting out the word on who voted how.
Fortunately we have a number of great City Council Candidates who are on our side on this and are opposed to this petition's passage in its current state, and are already making their views clear. There also are a number of Candidates running to replace current sitting Councillors so we will have a number of new candidates for Council to chose from as well.