11/16/20 Council Catch-up

Closing indoor spaces

 I strongly stand with the Mayor and Vice Mayor in prioritizing closures of indoor spaces like bars and gyms ahead of the schools. Cambridge needs to lead here to save lives. We should be clear with the City Manager that we need a relief program and these spaces need to close immediately. It was frustrating that this important discussion got charter righted into next week because time is of the essence when dealing with exponential growth.

Asking for weekly COVID updates

Cases are on the rise here in Cambridge and across the state. In response, I called on the City Manager to start delivering weekly updates on the city’s COVID-19 response during council meetings, as opposed to the less frequent updates that we had slipped into. Here’s a clip of what I said:

Extending Memorial Drive closures

One policy order from Monday’s agenda called for an extension of the popular Memorial Drive closures, which normally end in November. Many residents have called for an extension due to the pandemic. We need to maximize open space and opportunities to get exercise and fresh air outside while maintaining social distancing requirements. I have previously called for Memorial Drive to be shut down entirely, but the least we can do is extend the current weekend closures.

Some of my colleagues who were unsupportive pointed to young people not wearing their masks properly outdoors as a cause of the recent spike. It is important to recognize that outdoor transmission is not considered to be a driver of the pandemic, and every bit of scientific evidence we have points to indoor transmission as the culprit. 

One of my colleagues exercised their charter right on this policy order and it won’t be considered until next Monday. Watch my take on this here:

Tree Protection Ordinance update

Lasting changes to the Tree Protection Ordinance have advanced to the Ordinance Committee. At the recent meeting, I proposed a two-month extension to the current regulations around tree cutting to ensure there is no gap in coverage. If this change is adopted, current restrictions will not expire until the end of February, 2021. More details in the video:

Support for 32BJ SEIU

 I strongly support the workers of the 32BJ SEIU labor union as they demand a fair contract with no layoffs from Harvard. These workers have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, protecting our entire community from the virus. I am calling on Harvard University to do right by these fine folks as one of the wealthiest institutions in the world. I have sent a letter to President Bacow about this.