[act-ma] Open Data, Urban Agriculture, and Upcoming Events: Leland Cheung's Summer Update
news at electleland.org
Tue Aug 6 11:27:12 PDT 2013
Office: (617) 349-4280
Asst: (617) 349-4263
Cell: (617) 444-9080
Fax: (617) 349-4287
lcheung at cambridgema.gov
leland at electleland.org
795 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
Mass Technology Collaborative
Gov's Asian American Commission
Democratic State Committee
Executive Committee Member
National League of Cities
Community & Economic Dev
Steering Committee Member, Board Member
Mass Municipal Organization
Personnel and Labor Relations
Policy Committee Member
Democratic Municipal Officials
MA State Chair
Young Elected Officials Network
Leadership Committee Member
Young Democrats of Massachusetts
Truman National Security Project
Exploring the Daybreak Day Camp's version of City Hall at a recent visit with
Marching with Stanford classmates Jason Collins and Rep. Joe Kennedy in the
Boston Pride Parade.
Visiting the City Sprouts Summer program where Cambridge students are learning
to grow and cook their own food.
Out knocking doors to chat with Cambridge families and find out what issues are
important to them.
Enjoying the 34th Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival on the banks of the
All smiles at DPW's recent Western Ave Cookout!
Chatting with Breakthrough Greater Boston Students on a recent tour.
Dear Neighbors and Friends,
It’s been a busy few months in Cambridge, throughout the region, and across the
Commonwealth. During the City Council’s summer recess period, I’ve been
knocking on doors in neighborhoods across the City to talk with Cambridge
residents about what issues matter most to them and personally ask for their #1
vote on November 5th. I was also thrilled to celebrate with Ed Markey and
local volunteers after our many long hours of canvassing and phone-banking paid
off when the Commonwealth elected one of our state’s most progressive leaders as
our new Senator. Most importantly, I’m proud to announce that Yin and I are
expecting our first child, a baby girl to be born in late August.
Throughout the past month, I have been hard at work to introduce several
innovative new initiatives, programs and services that will make our City a
better place to live, work and play. I’m excited to share many of these with you
today, including Cambridge’s new online voter registration lookup, a
crowd-sourced open data ordinance draft, and enhanced pedestrian safety
measures. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of
assistance to you or your family.
With best wishes for a relaxing August,
Meet & Greet to Support Leland Cheung
Tuesday, August 20, 5:30 PM, Moksa, 450 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge
Often a Monday after a grueling Council session, Councillors from across the
aisle will repast to Moksa for some late night snacks to debrief the meeting and
put disagreements behind us.
As vacations wind down and families start getting ready for the first week of
school, I wanted to extend that spirit of collaboration and camaraderie to you.
Come by Moksa to enjoy the last bit of summer with Leland and friends before the
campaign season kicks off in the fall.
Click here to check out the event on Facebook and please click here to
Cambridge vs. Boston
Saturday, August 24, 8:00 PM, The Sinclair, 52 Church St, Cambridge
Much has been made of the sibling rivalry between Cambridge and Boston. And as
everyone knows, politics is a contact sport. So on August 24th Councillor Tito
Jackson and I will be putting on the gloves, stepping in to the ring, and
hosting an epic DJ battle at the hottest venue in the Metro, The Sinclair. Join
us in the fight for bragging rights with 8 of the area's hottest DJs. With MC On
and On as our host it's time to get down and dirty as we go toe-to-toe.
Come see what we're fighting for. Research has shown that approximately 40% of
homeless youth identify as LGBT; many of those youth are homeless because they
were kicked out after coming out. That's just wrong; these kids need our
acceptance and support. You can do your part by joining us on August 24th. All
proceeds go to Youth on Fire in Harvard Square and BAGLY in Boston, two great
organizations serving these kids in need.
Information and tickets are available on Facebook.
City Council Update
Throughout the summer and fall months, many Cantabrigians opt to enjoy the sunny
weather by traversing the City via foot or bike in lieu of driving. To ensure
that all residents and visitors are able to travel safety, I asked the City
Manager to explore pedestrian and cyclist safety measures, including the
installation of truck side guards that were recently developed by a
Cambridge scientist at the "Volpe Center" and utilizing pylons that have
been employed successfully in Washington D.C. Special emphasis will be focused
on the areas near the Cambridge Common which are frequented by families and
students, as well as the intersections surrounding the Porter Square MBTA
Station, where existing traffic laws will be explored to ensure we are
protecting pedestrians appropriately.
With the hope of further promoting sustainable practices throughout Cambridge,
the City will explore participating in the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour
City Challenge which evaluates cities on their efforts to move towards a low
carbon economy and promotion of the use of renewable energy sources to meet
human needs. Following the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning Committee’s
recent meeting on urban gardening, the City Manager will convene an urban
agriculture taskforce that will ultimately develop a proposal for an urban
agriculture ordinance in the City of Cambridge. Furthermore, the possibility of
expanding a community compositing initiative will be explored by City officials.
To better connect Cambridge residents with City Hall, I requested that the City
Manager work with the Information Technology Department to ensure that notes
from all City meetings, including those of the E-Gov committee, are
available online; that videos of City Council and televised committee
meetings are downloadable off of the City’s website; and to expand the
functionality of iReport so that users can report double poles. Furthermore,
I also asked the City Manager to work collaboratively with the License
Commission, Inspectional Services Department, and Traffic, Parking and
Transportation Department to find solutions for pervasive truck problems on
Bowdoin Street. Lastly, Cambridge’s Local Economy Week will be expanded to
recognize contributions to the local economy with an awards program from the
City, including awards on banking, philanthropy, community spirit, developer,
community involvement, new local business of the year, and longest-running local
Openly Drafting an Open Data Ordinance
On July 9, the Cable TV, Telecommunications, & Public Utilities Committee
conducted a public meeting at the Cambridge Coworking Center in Kendall Square
to explore the development of an open data ordinance in the City of Cambridge.
The development of such an ordinance would require all City departments and
commissions to make their data available online to Cambridge residents and app
developers, and will mobilize Cambridge’s entrepreneurs to use the data to
create free and useful civic tools and apps. As was discussed during the
meeting, such an effort would also heighten civic engagement, streamline City
communications and department interoperability, make City departments more
accountable, and allow for the development of new analyses and insights on City
operations. Full minutes are available here. In an effort to ensure that
this ordinance meets the needs of local residents and app developers, I am
seeking feedback on the ordinance and would be most appreciative of any feedback
you may be willing to provide on the document, visible here. Interested
parties are also encouraged to attend our next meeting to discuss the ordinance,
which will take place at 3:00 PM on August 15 at the Cambridge Innovation
Center’s Havana Room, 5th Floor, 1 Broadway.
Announcing Online Voter Status Searches
This month, the Election Commission launched an online website allowing
registered voters in Cambridge to verify their address, voting status, party
affiliation and polling location, visible here. This initiative was a direct
response to an order that I introduced this February in partnership with
local residents and the great advocates at MassVOTE.
Looking Forward: Community Meetings
Wednesday, August 7, 7:00 PM: Please join me and other members of our
neighborhood for a community gathering at the home of Jennifer on Pemberton
Street. We will be discussing issues relevant to our community and next steps
going forward. Many thanks to the Jennifer & her family for graciously hosting
me in their home this week. RSVP to Veronica at (803) 493-8203.
Wednesday, August 14, 9:00 AM, Crema Cafe: Please join me for my weekly
community coffee at Crema Café, located in Harvard Square at 27 Brattle Street.
We will be discussing issues relevant to the Harvard Square community and how we
can work together going forward.
Thursday, August 15, 3:00 PM, Cambridge Innovation Center: The Cable TV,
Telecommunications, & Public Utilities Committee will be hosting a meeting with
the purpose of developing an open data ordinance in the City of Cambridge. The
meeting will take place at the Cambridge Innovation Center, 1 Broadway, in the
5th Floor Havana Room.
Urban Agriculture: Meeting Report Release
On June 4, the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning Committee held a meeting to
explore the potential and long-term impact of developing an urban agriculture
initiatives throughout neighborhoods in Cambridge. Speakers included Luisa
Oliveira, who has been instrumental in the City of Somerville’s development of
an urban agriculture ordinance, and the founders of Bloombrick Urban
Agriculture, a Cambridge-based company that grows microgreens to sell to
individuals and restaurants. Throughout the meeting, participants engaged in a
collaborative discussion as to how the City can support local growing
initiatives and next steps going forward, including the development of an
urban agriculture taskforce. Full minutes can be viewed here.
Cambridge Instrumental in Driving Federal Policy
As a member of the National League of Cities (NLC), the City of Cambridge has
long worked in partnership with over 19,000 municipalities from across the
nations to find innovative solutions to common municipal concerns. As a board
member and member of NLC’S Strategic Planning Task Force, I am excited to inform
you about the City of Cambridge’s integral role in driving federal policy
through its work to protect municipal bond tax exemptions, a critical
component of state and local infrastructure investment and a crucial fuel for
national economic growth. Working collaboratively with students at the Harvard
Kennedy School, I was proud to provide NLC members will extensive research on
the topic and an in-depth model as to how current proposals to cap or eliminate
tax-exempt municipal bonds would impact local municipalities. More information
is available here.
It came as a shock to me and many of my colleagues to learn that in 29 states,
employers can legally fire someone because of their sexual orientation and that
in 33 states, employers can legally fire someone for being transgender or gender
nonconforming. I was proud to sponsor a policy resolution that urges the
City of Cambridge’s Congressional delegation to support the Employment
Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 that would make it illegal to fire, refuse to
hire, or refuse to promote employees because of their sexual orientation or
gender identity. Supporting this legislation sends a strong message that the
City of Cambridge will not support inequality, discrimination and prejudice
against the LGBTQ community from federal and state government and private
Past Policy Updates
Banning the Use of Environmentally Harmful Polystyrene-Based Disposable Food
Containers: In response to an order that I introduced in collaboration with
Mayor Henrietta Davis, the City Solicitor has drafted an amendment to
Cambridge’s municipal code that would ban the use of polystyrene-based
disposable food containers. The draft text, visible here, will be discussed
by the Council this fall.
Collaborating with the Swiss Canton of Basel-Stadt: On June 5, the Neighborhood
and Long Term Planning Committee held a public meeting with representatives from
the Swiss Canton of Basel-Stadt to exchange long term planning best practices
regarding housing and economic development. Full notes from the meeting are
©2013 Committee to Elect Leland Cheung
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