The Foundry - Erdogan Healy and the Council of 9

The Foundry - Erdogan Healy and the Council of 9

40,000 dollars and still no reports...!

How does the City of Cambridge work?

In may the following order was introduced by Tim Toomey and David Maher:
This order basically requests the City Manager to do order a study, by a paid consultant, to figure our the ins and out of the Foundry building. It was submitted 1 full year after the building was gifted to the City by Alexandria Real Estate, as mitigation for their upzoning request of 2009, going from ~900,000 sqft of permitted building to 1.5 Million sqft of permitted building.
The order was unanimously approved by the City Council:
On April 29th, 2 full months after the Order was voted on, the City Manager, Mr Healy, requested $40,000, a very large amount, to perform the study as per City Council order.

As you can read in the request, the study was expected to be completed by the end of May. We are now on the 18th of June, and no sign of a report. The City Council will have one more regular meeting on the 24th of this month and then go into recess. If no report is submitted the next regular meeting of the City Council is on September 9th 2013, in 21/2 months.
Elections for the City Council are this November, which means we are unlikely to see anything happen this year regarding the Foundry Building. Meaning the building will have been in the hand of the city for a full 2 years, more discussion will ensue and more time pass and the building will remain empty. $40,000 will have been spent on a report, money will continue to be needed for basic maintenance.
If I may, this is just close to outrageous, and costly, it is political theater at his best.

Now, we all think of Cambridge as an enlightened City, combining universities, innovating businesses and culture. Well today the Economic Development, Training and Employment Committee will conduct a public meeting to discuss the economic benefits of the Arts on the economy in Cambridge. I ask you, who does really have to ask the question of how the arts benefits economy? Do we only do things for the benefit of the economy? Is there any question the arts are and have been always been part of our development? I remember a friend of mine, an Italian Art Expert, who educated me to the dark ages, the period between the fall of the Roman empire and the Renaissance, when the arts were neglected, it was a dark period indeed. Dear City Councilors read your history, how can you ask such a question? Is there any doubts on the impact of Michaelangelo, Da Vinci, Picasso, or even Warhol (I'm using artists I hope you will recognize), if you don't know them, think of how the Beatles, you surely know them, have influenced you? Are they any doubts that when the arts did well, the economy followed, and vice versa? The arts are the basic expression of our human condition. The economy is an expression of our basic needs. But maybe I'm being too intellectual here... Maybe just maybe we should turn back to the dark ages, forget about the arts, focus only on the economy. Another waste of time and expertise, I'm sure the people, me included, who will be attending, have better things to do then state the obvious. Another waste of monies to discover what is already well establish.

Yesterday, for those who don't follow, the City of Council was found to have violated the law when choosing the new City Manager, Mr Rossi, according to a June 4 finding by the attorney general’s Division of Open Government. Thanks to the effort of citizen Stohlman to expose the way Council abused the process. I know Mr Stohlman would not use the word abuse, but I think, unfortunately, that this was no accident.

Back to our main topic the Foundry. As you hopefully know by now, this Saturday 22nd of June 2013, the Foundry, on a citizen's initiative will finally be open to the public. I'm one of the organizer, and requested the City to open the building from 11am to 6pm, to enable a maximum number of people to see and imagine the possibilities it offers. Without explanation, we were dictated to close at 3pm. Although I have repeatedly requested clarification as to why 3pm, I was told, not so nicely, to be happy the building was open at all.

The City of Council and Manager, although they claim transparency, act in the shadows of complex processes, very little is done to actually be transparent, very little is done to engage the Cambridge community as a whole, divide and conquer is how they do it. The Foundry show us again the dark side of how our City is manage.

And before I close this blog for today I would like to highlight a scary moment of yesterday City Council. It happened during the discussion of order #8, ref license plate reading equipment was recently installed on some Cambridge Police Department vehicles and their use:

During his comment, Councilor Cheung, stated that technology would help police work, it was a matter of regulating it... and finished his comment with the following: 'Welcome to the "Brave New World"'. Maybe the Economic Development, Training and Employment Committee (what a complicated name) was right we should ask the question: Does art really benefit the economy?

This year is an election year. Neighbors, friends, fellow Cantabridgians don't forget, cast your vote based on the actions and not the words of current City Councilors.
This year is an election year, let your voice be heard and make your vote count.