A Concerned Community

Newly planted trees are dying on large scales in the Cambridge area, an epidemic the Cambridge City Council is making strides towards fixing.

Many community members came to the City Council meeting on Monday, October 19 to share their concerns over the matter and insight on what more can be done to fix the issue.

The policy order reads “[t]hat the City Manager is requested to consider expanding the hose distribution program indefinitely for all new trees planted in sidewalk wells or behind sidewalks and explore establishing a credit to be applied to the water bills of participants, not to exceed $50 a year.”

The current state of the policy merely tries to not punish those who try and help care for the trees by increasing their water bills and to make it slightly easier for them but does little else.

First up to voice their concern over the issue was Carroll who stated “the policy order does minimal in addressing the massive problems that we’ve seen increase.” She then went on to list several environmental areas that lack funding. The care and worry about the current state of public greenery could be felt in her voice.

Later, Florey Westport came up and gave specific solutions to what else could be done on the matter of trees while outlining some of the existing problems. Some of the problems that currently exist are trees not living past their first year, putting salt on trees kills them, natural gas leaks are also killing trees, and an oversight of pruning. Some specific plans of action are to teach residents how to care for trees near them, requiring homeowners to pull weeds, and to have the community give extra care to trees under two years.

Issues like orphan trees were later brought up in addition to why trees are so important, like to help prevent flooding.

Ken Taylor from 23 Berkeley St. in Cambridge talked about a different matter, policy order #23. The policy states “[t]hat the Manager form a working group with representation from Harvard, MIT, the city, the residents and other interested parties to determine the feasibility of a “light Cambridge” initiative.

Ken’s concern was that many significant landmarks in the Cambridge area are poorly illuminated. He looked to Boston for his inspiration who had recently undergone a program to illuminate historic landmarks in the Boston area.

“It all needs to be done in the name of energy conservation,” Ken pushes.

A group of Spanish speaking workers in the community came to speak their mind on issues and were accompanied by a translator.

Margarita Ortiz was the first of the Spanish speakers who kept it short and sweet, backing the idea that the minimum wage should be raised to $15.

Two more members of the Spanish speaking community came up, spending the majority of their time doing nothing but thanking the Council for the opportunities they had and spent only a fraction stating that they support greater benefits to be included with their salaries.