Dear Marc,

As you have likely heard, on January 4, 2023, a 20-year-old Bangladeshi man, Arif Sayed Faisal, was shot and killed by a Cambridge Police Officer. Being the father of a son of similar age, and as someone who has worked in the mental health field for 30 years, my heart breaks for Arif, his parents, his friends and his community. A young life has been lost. Parents aren’t supposed to bury their children and I can’t even begin to imagine the pain his parents are feeling.

Arif was 20 years old and lived with his parents in CambridgePort. According to reports, Arif was having some type of mental health crisis that contributed to his jumping out of his first floor window and harming himself with a knife. According to reports, police were called and chased Arif and reportedly attempted to de-escalate the situation but were unsuccessful. This tragic event is currently being investigated by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office. 

According to an article in the Cambridge Day, Arif was attending the University of Massachusetts-Boston and studying computer engineering and had interest in joining the military. He enjoyed playing soccer and cricket with his friends and was active in his community.

At this point we don’t know what exactly happened. On June 10, 2020, I was lead sponsor on a policy order asking for a Public Safety Committee hearing to discuss issuing body cameras to police officers. At the hearing there was agreement that this should be pursued. Then Police Commissioner Bard was supportive, as is current Police Commissioner Elow. The police union is also supportive. Unfortunately, despite agreement, the City has not allocated funds for body cameras, thus there is  no body camera footage. I will continue to advocate for these funds to be made available. Although some people say that body cameras don’t stop tragic things from happening, they do provide a visual and auditory record that can shed light on events, that not only help with accountability, but can bring closure to those impacted.

I wish to offer my sincere condolences to the Faisal family. Cambridge is home to a large Bangladeshi community, and I wish to offer my condolences to them as well. This was a traumatic event for many, including those residents who witnessed the incident, the teachers and children at a nearby pre-school who heard the gunshots, the larger Bangladeshi community, and the police officers involved. I support a thorough, independent investigation so we can learn from this tragedy and most importantly, so Arif’s mother and father can have answers to the loss of their son.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue, please call: 988, the new, national, emergency number for mental health crisis. 

To read the statement by the City Manager and Mayor Siddiqui, click here.

To read the statement by Middlesex DA, Marianne Ryan, click here.

The city is in the process of scheduling a series of community meetings for next week. Dates and times have not yet been announced.

All the best,


Let's Connect:
Questions? Comments? Concerns?
I hold virtual office hours via Zoom every Monday from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm. If you have questions or thoughts about city issues or have anything you'd like to discuss with me, please feel free to drop in on zoom at: Councillor McGovern's Office Hours.

As always, I am available to speak with anyone outside of that hour, so please feel free to email my office at to schedule an appointment. Additionally, I can be reached directly via email at

Have you ever asked a child what they wanted to be when they grew up? How many of those children ever answered, "homeless?" The unhoused people we see on the streets of Cambridge were all children once, whose hopes and dreams never included living on the street. 


Over the course of the past several months, Eva Tine and I interviewed and photographed many unhoused residents of Cambridge, who were gracious enough to share their stories

with us. These stories became a collection of posters, each featuring one or two of our neighbors, that we hope captures the amazing, kind, insightful, capable, resilient people we met.


The Unhoused Neighbor Project will be traveling to locations around the city, including the Cambridge Public Library on Broadway, over the next few months. I will also continue to highlight some of the participants in the Featured section of my newsletter in the coming weeks. This week, meet :

City Updates:
COVID-19 Updates

For Cambridge and Massachusetts COVID-19 updates and information about trends, case counts, wastewater data, and statistics, click here.

Get a COVID test

If you currently have COVID-19, reach out if you need help.

If you have tested positive, are at high-risk for serious illness, and are currently experiencing symptoms, click here to learn about free treatments that are available in Massachusetts.

The bivalent boosters, which include a component of the original virus strain and a component of the omicron variant to provide better protection against COVID-19, are available. The CDC has this information about staying up to date on your boosters.

Find a Vaccine or Booster

As of January 5, 2023, the CDC reports that Middlesex County has entered the High COVID-19 Community Level. Community Levels are determined by a combination of reported COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19. When the COVID-19 Community Level is high, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Wear a high-quality mask (e.g., N95, KF94, KN95) when indoors in public.
  • If you are at high risk of getting very sick, consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public where you could be exposed.
  • If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for getting very sick, consider testing before contact and wearing a high-quality mask when indoors with them.

COVID-19 viral levels in Greater Boston wastewater have increased sharply in the past two weeks and are now at their highest point since January 2022. An increase in viral particles in wastewater is often an early indicator of new infections in the community.

Parking Report Survey Available

The Parking Study Draft Report, which was recently revised, summarizes what the Community Development Department (CDD) has heard in conversations and focus groups with community members over the past year, as part of their Parking Study.

The study's goal was to learn about people's experiences with parking and transportation and propose strategies and actions that aim to balance many needs.

CDD has created a survey for you to give feedback about whether the study report accurately reflects your needs and if you think that their proposed actions will respond to them.

Please read the report and take the anonymous, 15-minute survey here before January 31. You may also email your comments to

Stay on Top of Winter Weather Updates

 In the event of snow, you can check the Cambridge Snow Center for updates about snow emergency parking restrictions, alternative off-street parking, and closures.


Click here to subscribe to the city's CodeRED Emergency Alerts to receive emergency updates related to winter weather via phone, text or email.


You can also follow the city on Twitter at @CambMA and on Facebook for updates. 

Implementation of the City's Urban Forestry Master Plan is Improving Cambridge's Tree Canopy

The city is pleased to release the 2020 Canopy Assessment completed by the University of Vermont, which shows that the implementation of the Urban Forestry Master Plan is improving our tree canopy.

Building canopy is a slow and steady race, but we are seeing substantive progress. The investments in tree plantings and maintenance combined with tree preservation initiatives are reversing the loss of tree canopy. In 2022 the city planted 1,385 trees (837 street trees and 550 open space trees). The city is committed to building on this work and continuing to implement the recommendations of the Plan.

For more information, click here.

Holiday Tree Collection Information

Curbside pick-up of un-decorated Christmas trees is occurring until January 13 on your curbside collection day. Decorations and stands must be removed and trees should not be in a plastic bag.

Residents can also bring bare trees to the Recycling Center during open hours, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 4 - 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Meet Patricia Thaxton, Artist of Harvard Sq. Mural 

In June 2021, a monumental (printed) mural debuted in Cambridge's Harvard Square as part of the City of Cambridge's renovation of the landmark Harvard Square Kiosk, which had been the longtime home of Out of Town News.

Designed by artist Patricia Thaxton of Stoughton, “The Beauty of Everyday Living,” was printed on vinyl scrim to surround the worksite during construction. It highlights Harvard Square, Cambridge community festivals, Black Lives Matter protests, and her own patterns.

Meet Thaxton and learn about the printed mural at a reception for exhibition “Patricia Thaxton: The Beauty of Everyday Living” at Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344, 344 Broadway, Cambridge, on Jan. 9, 2023, from 6 to 8 p.m. (Snowdate: Jan. 12.) The exhibition is on view from Oct. 24, 2022, to Feb. 28, 2023. At the gallery, view Thaxton’s original collages for the mural, which was commissioned by the City of Cambridge, and a scrim panel similar to the panels at the construction site.

Admission to the gallery and events are free.

Street Performer Permitting Now Online

To make performing in public easier in Cambridge, the application for Street Performer Permits is now online here. Individual performers, as well as each member of a group, must obtain permits. No auditions are required. All are welcome and encouraged to apply. Performers do not have to live in Cambridge in order to obtain a performance permit. Street performers are a beloved and cherished part of our community and Cambridge Arts looks forward to helping performers share their creativity in the public spaces of Cambridge.

2023 Parking Permit Information

From December 2022 to March 2023, you can renew your Cambridge parking permit online and it will be mailed to you.

Beginning on January 3, 2023, you can renew your parking permit in-person at 344 Broadway, Cambridge.

Between January and March 2023, you can use either a 2022 or 2023 Resident or Visitor Parking Permit to park in areas with signs that say, "Parking by Permit Only."

Beginning on April 1, 2023, you must use a 2023 Resident or Visitor Parking Permit to park in areas with signs that say, "Parking by Permit Only." Make sure to renew your Resident and/or Visitor Parking Permit by March 31, 2023.

For more information about new and renewal parking permits, and to apply online, click here.

Find It Cambridge is an online resource that helps you easily find the activities, services, and resources you are looking for in Cambridge. Our city has an amazing array of opportunities, and Find It Cambridge serves as that one-stop-shop website for those who live, work and play here.
Find It Cambridge
Meetings & Events:

Next City Council Meeting:

January 9th, 2023.

Sign-up for Public Comment

View the City Council Meeting Agenda

Monday, January 9, 4-6:00 pm: Community Benefits Advisory Committee

Monday, January 9, 6-8:00 pm: Reception & Exhibit: Artist Patricia Thaxton

Tuesday, January 10, 10:30 am-1:30 pm: Board of License Commissioners’ Public Meeting

Tuesday, January 10, 1-2:00 pm: Senior Women's Group

Tuesday, January 10, 1:00 pm: The Housing Committee

Tuesday, January 10, 6:30 pm: Planning Board Meeting

Wednesday, January 11, 8:00-9:30 am: Recycling Advisory Committee Meeting

Wednesday, January 11, 10-11:00 am: Board of Assessors Public Meeting

Wednesday, January 11, 3:00 pm: The Government, Operations, Rules, and Claims Committee

Wednesday, January 11, 5:30-7:30 pm: January Bicycle Committee Meeting

Thursday, January 12, 12-2 pm: Affordable Housing Information Session

Thursday, January 12, 5:30-7:00 pm: Commission for Persons with Disabilities

Thursday, January 12, 6:30-11:30 pm: Board of Zoning Appeal Agenda

View The Entire City Calendar
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