1000 Jackson Place
Cambridge, MA 02140


I have lived in Cambridge for over 40 years and I have come to know the city well. However, I happily acknowledge those who grew up here or went to school here and know the city even better. I value your experience and perspectives, and your loyalty to Cambridge, even as we are all trying to come to terms with a city which has changed and continues to change dramatically. I have always been actively involved in the civic life of this community since I first settled here permanently in the fall of 1971; the year of Attica, and of Vietnam. I always supported (and, indeed, benefited from) rent control in Cambridge, and feel its defeat in the 90s, orchestrated by organized real estate interests, changed our city for the worse. One of our biggest challenges ever since has been to assure truly affordable housing for those who currently live in Cambridge, while accommodating the inevitable growth associated with at least some of those who may wish to settle here. The drivers of growth have always been the universities and commercial real estate development. While homeowners, and city coffers, have benefited financially, the shape of the city has lead me to join others through the years in fighting to protect those things in jeopardy which we have valued most: The Tasty; a livable, affordable Central Square; neighborhoods with a sense of community, protected from being overwhelmed by giant buildings, excessive traffic congestion, or too much turbulence in the social life of the city — when the only principles allowed to govern are "market forces," or the almighty dollar. I lived briefly in Central and Harvard squares; then, for over 30 years, in Cambridgeport. In 2007, I was evicted as a result of a mortgage foreclosure. I was fortunate to qualify for affordable, public housing. I moved to North Cambridge, where I have been happy to find community in tough times. In a time of growing inequality, how can we make Cambridge an equitable and beautiful place to live for as many who can fairly and sensibly make a life here? How can we have Harvard and MIT and still have so many kids failing in our schools or working for minimum wage in Harvard Square? Is Biotech the answer? Or do we need to find ways to reconnect, and rebuild just and truly sustainable communities? The answer should be obvious.

Candidate Stances

Abolish Involuntary Poverty In Cambridge Over The Next Five Years

Support Very Strongly

If elected, I will immediately set to work to raise the Minimum Wage in Cambridge to at least $10.50/hour. (The so-called "living wage" in Cambridge has been calculated to be $14.75/hour.) [Also, please be sure to sign the two "Raise Up" state referenda petitions on this question.] I would target fast food joints and corporate chains, like Dunkin Donuts and CVS, first; this would help level the playing field for the friendly, local, independent businesses we want most to foster in our community. We should also be improving alternative intervention for people who are homeless, especially those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction or dependency or with mental health needs. Central Square ought to be more than just a free fire zone or dumping ground for neglected, impoverished people with serious problems with nowhere else to go and no one to offer effective help. (At the same time, we can't be responsible for everyone in the entire universe who needs help; we can do the best we can, but especially mindful of those who have roots or a history in Cambridge, in my opinion, first.)

Cambridge Is Experiencing Serious Traffic Gridlock Morning And Evenings

Support Very Strongly

Any study should include a careful look at public transportation and all other forms of mass transit in Cambridge. (We should take the six "homeland security" cameras installed at major intersections which have not yet been "turned on," and turn them over to Traffic and Parking for use in helping to collect useful data on congestion and other transportation-related phenomena.)

Campaign Finance Reform

Support Very Strongly

Community Walk And Bike Path Along The Grand Junction Railroad


This right-of-way could be very useful for future transit -- the new, self-operating diesel train cars -- which could run from Worcester. This would help alleviate congestion at Kendall, and possibly even greater Boston. Can we do both? I believe we could, but we should be careful not to do something that would bestow exclusive priority on bicycles! (There are not enough people served or transported, compared with transit. Incidentally, in my opinion , (and that of many other beleaguered Cantabrigians), if the bike lobby want support for their various -- publicly subsidized -- initiatives, they will need to stop running red lights, racing through crosswalks, riding on sidewalks, and endangering pedestrians, especially our seniors, with their reckless and wanton behavior.)

Investment In Our Public Schools


I will accept the factual background as provided here, and we certainly need school buildings in great condition. However, I don't know enough about the respective school and city building budgets to have a clear idea about whether we should be spending more or not. We know we have and spend a great deal of money in Cambridge. (If we're not spending enough, what does that say about the rest of the Commonwealth?) Can we find a way to do more without spending more? With major expenditures for a new main library and other big projects, hasn't that also skewed these numbers and "percentages" just a bit?

Low And Medium Income Housing -- Increase In Density Or ....

Support With Reservation

Depends on what is meant by "density." The current zoning in Central would allow 80 ft. buildings; pretty large and high, and that would be a significant increase in density. Is "density" to be allowed to be a Trojan Horse for every new developer's fantasy of high rise profiteering?? Cut it out.

Low And Moderate Income Housing -- Inclusionary Zoning Results In 25% Affordable Housing.

Support Strongly

Because the need is great, and we haven't been generating as much as we could from "inclusionary zoning." It's a useful tool. Cambridge should not be a city of just rich and poor (or those smart or lucky enough to have bought their homes back when prices were still affordable.)

Net Zero Buildings


Yes, but the definition of "renewable" must be carefully examined and refined. (For example, we don't want ethanol trains rolling through Cambridge with this supposedly "renewable" fuel...)

One Year Moratorium On Construction To Study Impact Of Development On Livability.

Support With Reservation

I'm not actually sure about this one... Is it politically effective? Achievable? Worth whose effort? Who is going to go out and make this happen?? (Let's stay focused on Central Square and the Osborne Triangle.)

Plan E Charter

Opposed With Reservation

Yes, we certainly need to reform and change our city's Charter, but this would be a difficult undertaking. How much energy will it take to muster -- and mobilize -- the "political will" necessary to achieve what would clearly be beneficial changes? (People like to talk about "electing the mayor..." Why don't we just elect the city manager, instead?)

Privacy -- Police Public Safety Security Cameras

Opposed Very Strongly

For starters, we should take the six "homeland security" cameras installed at major intersections which have not yet been "turned on," and turn them over to Traffic and Parking for use in helping to collect useful data on congestion and other transportation-related phenomena. (Why waste 'em?)

Public Toilets On Cambridge Common

Support Strongly

As long as this includes a Parisian-style pissoir! Comme ca!

Reject Dramatic Up-Zoning Changes In Central Square.

Support Very Strongly

I agree. The current zoning is sufficient and allows considerable growth as it is; the current zoning has never been really tested, in my opinion; why give away more?? I want to enjoy a livable and affordable Central Square which maintains its rather interesting mix of historic character and funkadelic grit. We've learned recently that the MIddle East may be able to purchase their corner block, if they can succeed in negotiating an affordable purchase of the property. Let's support them. The fact that the price they are being offered is $7.1 million (3X the assessed valuation of the property!) should be a warning sign for anyone who claims more "generous" zoning is needed to enable affordability -- whether in ground floor retail or housing.

Terms Limits

Support With Reservation

Jim Braude ran and got elected a few years ago and then left after just one term. Not everybody is as eager to move on, admittedly, but it does suggest that the Council position is more about pulling a check than about real power. (Jim wanted something a little more ambitious or rewarding, presumably.) If that is the case, shouldn't we focus more on shifting the power -- away from the city manager -- than on limiting council terms (even though I would happily accept a maximum of three terms; hell, I'd be happy with one term!) Let's not waste our time on cosmetic changes that don't amount to much when our energies are limited -- priorities matter.

The Foundry

Support Strongly