The Blog

Civic life

Green flip

Last year, I went to an “open walls” open house that a developer held, in partnership with a real estate agent, a green mortgage financer and a building energy rater. It was interesting to see how the developer was going about the “green flip,” as he called it. Today, I went to a real open [...]


Today, I filled out my ballot for the election on November 3. I’ll be voting by mail, or actually dropping it off at City Hall when I can get down there.

Jobs Linkage Public Forum

Today, I attended a public meeting of Somerville’s Job Creation and Retention Trust board. This is a relatively new body that invests developers’ linkage fees into job retention and retraining efforts across the city. Very interesting to hear how the board’s first year investment have gone and to provide some input on next year’s investment [...]

Poll worker training

Elections are run by community members, giving up their day to help keep the wheels of democracy spinning. It’s often retirees who work the polls. But this year, the pandemic has made it dangerous for older citizens to work on the frontline with the public. Today, I attended a training session for poll workers in [...]

Tufts PILOT ordinance

The City of Somerville has been negotiating with Tufts University for some time now over payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT). Somerville residents are impacted by tax-exempt institutions in our communities that take advantage of city services without contributing revenues. Today, I signed a petition asking the City Council to hold a hearing to review [...]

Kiva loan and city council meeting

Today, I made Kiva loan to Candace, a Mississippi caterer looking for a small loan to get her Black-owned, woman-owned business off the ground. Today, I also joined a city council meeting (online, of course), during which our Mayor presented the 2021 budget to the council.

Candlelight Vigil

Today, I attended a candlelight vigil for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others killed by police brutality and racist violence. This was a Somerville event, organized by people of color who have formed a new organization called Just Us Somerville. It ended with 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence, after which we [...]

Boynton Yards presentation

Today, I attended a presentation from a developer and its architect in the Boynton Yards area of Somerville. The good news is that the developer has embraced the sustainability aspects of Somerville’s new zoning code and made sure pass along additional questions.

Report back on traffic-related air

Today, I joined a call to learn more about traffic-related impacts on air quality, as a result of the pandemic’s sharp reduction in traffic on the highways that cut across Somerville. The Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership has been at this for a long time and they had some interesting findings to share.

Mutual aid fundraiser

I’ve made a donation to, and connected with, the Mutual Aid Medford and Somerville (MAMAS) group. Today, I made another donation, in response to a fundraising campaign.

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