What's new on the council?

The Covid19 pandemic has affected so many areas of our lives – taken many lives, stretched our health care system to the limit, upended our economy and every aspect of living. We are slowly learning to adapt, hopeful that with masks, distancing, and attention to scientific medical advice, life will eventually return to a new, livable normal. The City and Council are working overtime to do all we can. Please read my notes on how to help and how to cope during the COVID-19 crisis, and visit the City’s online resources.

Another issue sweeping across the country is Black Lives Matter, a movement that has made clear the fundamental wrongness of 400-plus years of systematic oppression of black and brown people, the destructiveness of bigotry and racism, and the way these forces have twisted the systems and structure of our society. In these times we all must rise to the challenge of addressing the many ways racism manifests itself in our country, and work to undo them. The Council is discussing, and will soon vote on, requesting a report about how some or all of this year’s planned increase in the police department budget might be reallocated to social services. See my statement about this policy order.

You’ll find additional updates about other agenda items on my news page. If you don’t yet receive regular emails from me, please sign up here. And if you want to follow me on social media, you can use the icons below.

Patty's Priorities

The Coronavirus crisis is the Council’s, and thus my, number one priority right now. My focus is on making sure that we think critically, and from a basis grounded in data and logic, to ensure we make decisions that help protect our citizens’ well-being and our city’s economy. Learn more.

One of Cambridge’s greatest strengths is our city’s resources and collective intelligence, which leads our leaders to develop plans, conduct surveys, hire consultants, and produce reports. Too often those plans, surveys, and reports are not used in a comprehensive, coordinated way to ensure that goals are met, progress is made and effective solutions implemented. Simply put, 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.  Learn More

Nothing else will matter if the planet continues on the current path of truly unsustainable growth. Like most issues, Cambridge cannot solve the problem on its own, and yet we can be more of a leader in reducing emissions, trying new solutions and providing example other cities can follow.  Learn More

Our city thrives when people feel respected, their input is honored and they have a say in changes. We rely on neighborliness to keep the spirit of openness alive and to spark engagement.  We must foster groups working together and encourage the connections between people and groups that make for vibrant neighborhoods.  Learn More

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.   Learn More

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.  Learn More

On School Committee I was a passionate effective advocate for higher expectations, bold goals, engaged classrooms and more programs like Montessori and bilingual immersion that close achievement gaps and are highly desirable by families. City Council role in education is around buildings – where we need to build more schools – and expanding preschools, afterschools and summer program with an eye on quality and joy.  Take a look at my candidate endorsements for School Committee and Learn More

Thank You, Cambridge!

I’m so excited about my (solid – 3rd in a field of 22) victory in the Council election. I’m honored. And now, I’ve been sworn in and am hard at work.  I understand that you elected me for my emphasis on: listening to all views; use of sound data, solid analysis; transparency; and collaboration. I continue to be inspired by a wonderful and thought-provoking email I received from a voter that says a lot about what we, as Councilors, need to be doing. Read more hereI’m working hard to represent voters like this one… and you.  If you have thoughts or questions for me, please email me or contact me via the form below.

In 2005, as a new parent of children in the Cambridge schools, I decided to get involved. Now, after 14 years on School Committee, I’m bringing to City Council the same transparency, good governance, commitment to diverse stakeholders, and critical thinking that led me to be an effective and positive leader on School Committee.  It has already been a productive Council session, and I look forward to more good work with my colleagues.


Patty Nolan
184 Huron Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138
Phone: (857) 270-0256

Patty Nolan: pnolan@cambridgema.gov
Michael Scarlett (my legislative aide!): mscarlett@cambridgema.gov

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