This weekend features one of my favorite annual events in Somerville: PorchFest. It's an opportunity for us to come together safely outdoors during a pandemic and celebrate our hyperlocal music scene. I have a number of friends performing and hosting today, and I can't wait to see many of you in the street and in backyards.
Here is a complete guide to the acts playing today.
I have a favor to ask of everyone today: Please keep this event about music and community. As a City Councilor, I hear from constituents about unfortunate issues that rear their ugly heads during PorchFest. We get reports of people overindulging in substances (notably alcohol), crowds making streets impassable for motorists and cyclists, performers playing too loudly, and incidents of public urination.
On that last item, I want to note that there are portable restroom facilities throughout the city today, and urge folks to use those rather than going in public. Here's a map of those portajohns.
So please keep it together today so we can continue holding this great event. And please stay hydrated, cool, and well-sunscreened on an unseasonably warm day!
Here are some other items I want to spotlight:
Peace March and Rally
Last night I attended the Peace March and Rally organized by Teen Empowerment and the youth of Somerville. It was a powerful and necessary event after a rash of shootings in our city. I was pleased to see so many constituents and city leaders listening to the voices of those most impacted by this. It's critical that we act as a city -- in concert with neighboring cities -- to address the root causes of this violence. Unfortunately, words alone aren't going to be enough here.
125 Highland Local Historic District
On Thursday night the City Council approved a Local Historic District for 125 Highland. This was a contentious issue that left some very raw feelings on both sides. Ultimately, I listened to the voices of the neighbors of the church who don't have a financial interest in this or a connection to the developer or current owner. That feedback overwhelming viewed the existing structure as historically important to the neighborhood and favored an LHD, so I voted in support of this.
I'm disappointed that the parties involved have been unable to work out an agreement with the City like what I previously outlined as my desired outcome here. But I remain hopeful of that still happening for a win-win-win.
Farmers Market Season is here!
This week sees the start of our outdoor farmers markets in Somerville. With locations throughout the city and a schedule spread out through the week, this son of a family farmer encourages you to support your local farmers. I'm particularly thrilled to see SNAP/EBT accepted as so many of these, and I want to thank those who work to make that happen.
- Sundays (9 AM - 1 PM): East Somerville Farmers Market
- Wednesdays (12 PM - 6 PM): Davis Square Farmers Market
- Saturdays (9 AM - 1 PM): Union Square Farmers Market
And beginning July 8, the Somerville Mobile Farmers Market will begin their 2022 season in rotating locations around the city!
Did You Know....
Civilian flaggers (paid prevailing wages) are allowed to work construction details in Massachusetts, but the current collective bargaining agreement with Somerville Police Department doesn't allow civilian flaggers. As a result, our city has to rely on detail shifts by police officers from other communities who don't know our streets or our policies or overall construction scene. These outside officers often resort to closing streets rather than directing traffic, and that can result in chaos in neighborhoods with heavy construction happening.
Highland Ave survey deadline
Monday, May 16 is the deadline to fill out the crucial Highland Ave Redesign Survey. Please weigh in and help guide this important process.
Additionally, the City of Somerville currently is seeking responses to the Bicycle Network Plan Survey.
Planning Board members wanted!
The Somerville Planning Board is seeking two members -- a full member and an alternate member. This important body plays a vital role in shaping the long-term vision of how our city develops. A background in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, urban planning, and/or land-use law is helpful but not required.
- Somerville Urban Design Commission
- Somerville Historic Preservation Commission
- Somerville Zoning Board of Appeals
- Somerville Public Library Board of Trustees
With the weather looking good this weekend, I'm going to try in-person group office hours this weekend. Come join us Sunday, May 15, from 4 to 6 PM at Edward Leathers Park (104 Walnut Street, between the Green Line and Pearl Street).
I'm continuing to offer on-demand office hours to fit your schedule or for those who prefer to meet separately. I really enjoy talking to constituents, so please book a time to meet in person or virtually directly on my calendar via my Calendly.
The Week Ahead
Here are the events I'll be attending this week:
- Wednesday, May 18 (6:00 PM) - 5 Middlesex Ave neighborhood meeting
- Thursday, May 19 (6:30 PM) - City Council special meeting with Mayor Ballantyne
- Saturday, May 21 (3:00 PM) - Union Square Plaza and Streetscape Pop-Up On the Plaza
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