Illegal activities in Cambridge

By ayr September 2, 2012

Lucia and Chris got an earful from Cambridge Poster Police the other day. And this threatening letter.

We put together little packs of posters to announce new events (e.g., Beer Launch at the HUB, which is what this issue was about) and encourage customers to grab a pack of 5 and use them to spread the word.

There was a recent article published in the Cambridge Chronicle about a poor woman who was looking for her cat and was threatened with hundreds of dollars in fines for violating Cambridge’s anti-poster regulations. I’m not making this up. We know because the compliance officer who is mentioned in the article was the one who came by the chew Chris out and he mentioned how mad he is about these posters because of the article. I hadn’t seen the article and looked it up and couldn’t figure out whether to laugh or cry.

Really Cambridge? Really? Really?

Every place I’ve ever known to have a real vibrant and active community has had posters. The country store in my hometown (Streeters) had a big wall where people would post bear sightings and community announcements etc. My church had a bulletin board that was used by everybody. The cooperative we bought groceries from had a huge bulletin board with crazy posts about new age this and that and yoga classes. MIT is famous for posters. There are dozens of sites across campus and a complete system that includes twice per week clearing of the poster boards. Everybody posts their event announcements and that’s the main way you learn about what’s going on as a student.

So Cambridge, that’s what you’re NOT fostering. I don’t think there’s any question that posters help communities communicate with one another. So what ARE you gaining? Seriously, does anybody know the origins of these laws? What was the goal? Why ban posters? Is this something we can change?

In the meantime, for those of you trying to help us out, just keep the posters off of Cambridge Streets. That might save us $1,000s of dollars in fines. Just keep them to dorms, churches, etc. Private spaces. Thanks.

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