If there’s one thing for which I stand, it’s accountability – the City’s and the Council’s – to the voters: to commitments we make, to decision-making grounded in data and solid analysis, to listening carefully to all points of view, to addressing the true complexity of the issues we face, and to principles of responsible governance.
In my last term and in recent months, I’ve focused on and had several governance breakthroughs. Putting charter review on the ballot, and its overwhelming support by the voters last Fall, were the direct result of my leadership and collaboration with others, and represent important steps for the City. The Council’s recent decision on a new City Manager (see my statement about the decision) and the process that led to it, are two others. Good governance is critical to the well-being of our city and its residents, and will be essential to responding to the challenges we face (see Patty’s priorites, below).
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Equity and justice are central to my thought process. They, and an emphasis on practical action, are evident in my work: City action on the long-neglected but critical issue of municipal broadband, implementation of programs for climate mitigation and resilience both of which profoundly increase inequity, insistence that equity-building and home ownership supplement rent-focused policy in our city’s affordable housing programs, use of reparations to help counter the effects of prejudice embedded in over a century’s-worth of government policy, meaningful police reform sensitive to all citizen’s views, and equal educational achievement standards for all students independent of race. All are examples of specific policies I champion that go beyond feel-good declarations to actually move the city to be more equitable and just. More Details
Nothing else will matter if the planet continues on the current path of unsustainable consumption and growth. I was appointed chair of the Mayor’s Climate Crisis Working Group and have led it to published results that are influencing today’s decisions about the City’s Net Zero Action plan, for example. My emphasis: ensuring that our goals are in-line with the science and the planet’s demands, independent of the many other pressures (including political) that officials may face; ensuring that our efforts are well-planned, properly resourced, and ambitious in their timing; leveraging the know-how within our city and beyond; being transparent in sharing progress; and holding ourselves accountable to our goals. More Details
The Coronavirus crisis is real and unfortunately still with us. My focus is on making sure that the Council acts rationally, based on up-to-date science and lessons learned elsewhere. We need to think critically so we don’t accept easy but inappropriate answers. More Details
One of my major priorities this term was to push for responsible, rational, and comprehensive governance to hold the City, including the Council, accountable. After 80 years of failure to review the City’s charter — the document that defines the fundamentals of how our government operates — I successfully led an effort on charter reform that led to three changes proposed as questions on the November ballot; all three were approved overwhelmingly by voters. I also focus on holding the City and Council accountable for the goals it has set, decisions made, and on costly and valuable research and planning that too often is forgotten or ignored. Finally, we need to do a better job of walking our talk about being a progressive and leading city, and our goals now must address the broad cause of social justice and the specific issues raised by Black Lives Matter. High on my governance priorities has been hiring the best city manager possible through the best process possible. See my statement for my thoughts on the process and decision. More Details
We all know it: There’s a crisis of affordable housing in Cambridge. Only very wealthy people can afford to buy or, increasingly, rent unless they qualify for subsidies. Inclusionary zoning, higher linkage fees, and Section 8 rent changes based on zip codes have led to more units being affordable. But the need, and the complexity of the issues involved, are both tremendous. We must thoughtfully assess new proposals to understand their likely effectiveness and secondary impacts. More Details
Our neighborhoods thrive when the city respects its citizens, they feel respected, their input is honored, and they have a say in changes. As chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning Committee, I have focused on how the city can be supportive of neighborhood groups, and have worked with CDD to ensure action in response to their needs. More Details
This concept includes arts, diversity, effective transportation, sane development, and more. My priorities center on a relentless focus on the arts, inclusion, diversity, accessible affordable public transit, supporting multi-modal forms of transit, and sustainable development. More Details
On School Committee I was a passionate and effective advocate for higher expectations, bold goals including equally high expectations for the entirety of our diverse student body, engaged classrooms, and more programs like Montessori and bilingual immersion that close achievement gaps and are highly desirable to families. The City Council role’s in education relates to overall budget, building (if we need to build more schools), and expanding preschools, afterschools and summer programs. My knowledge of the schools combined with my willingness to do research means that you have a Councilor able to evaluate effectively, and thus critique, this essential contributor to our children’s future and enormous portion of our City’s budget. More Details
Along with cities throughout the US, we are stepping up efforts to address our country’s history of slavery and racism and its impact on our institutions and systems. Exploring a shift in emphasis from traditional policing to social services is an important step, but just one of many. The Cambridge Holistic Emergency Alternative Response Team (the HEART proposal) is an exciting and important initiative; and I was happy to be the lead sponsor of a policy order to support HEART and to continue working to push the program forward as quickly and responsibly as possible. More Details
I love this job, am honored to have it. I pledge to continue playing the unique and critical role that has led so many of you to support me. To those who didn’t support me, know first that at one time or another, almost all of my supporters have disagreed with me about something important to them. They stick with me because I am honest with them, listen carefully, do my best to bring together all points of view into reasonable policy, and change my mind when the facts call for it.
If there’s one thing for which I stand, it’s accountability — the City’s and the Council’s — to the voters: to commitments we make, to decision-making grounded in data and solid analysis, to listening carefully to all points of view, to addressing the true complexity of the issues we face, and to principles of responsible governance. Passing the ballot questions was an important first step. Now we need to form an independent Commission, which will review the Charter, assess whether and how to improve it, and then submit any proposed changes to the city’s voters for approval. Hiring a new city manager was another important step and will allow me to direct my focus back onto the priorities outlined above.