ABC Candidate 2017 Survey Reponses
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QuestionMarc McGovernE. Denise SimmonAdriane MusgraveSean TierneyAlanna MallonSamuel GebruTim ToomeyPaul TonerSumbul SiddiquiVatsady SivongxayNadya OkamotoJeff SantosJosh BurginGwen VolmarRonald BenjaminHari PillaiBryan SuttonJan DevereuxQuinton ZondervanGregg Moree
The ABC Platform states that: “Local anti-growth sentiment exacerbates a crisis of gentrification and displacement that disproportionately impacts communities of color, low-income residents, and vulnerable populations. Restricting supply creates artificial scarcity and drives up prices for everyone.” Do you agree?YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYes
Groups that oppose new housing are misguided. Those with higher salaries are moving to Cambridge, and without a proper supply of housing they will outbid lower income residents for the housing stock that is available, resulting in gentrification. One of the major drivers of increasing our stock of affordable housing is our Inclusionary Ordinance (and our linkage fees). Creating new affordable units will not happen if we chill all market-rate development.2016 CA state report: low-income areas with more housing growth experienced displacement at half the rate of similar neighborhoods that haven’t added housing. Because of the racial wealth gap, displacement more likely affects people of color.The overwhelming body of research in Massachusetts and California supports this conclusion. Housing is a complicated supply & demand problem. Cambridge can and has played a significant role to address the issue but we need other cities & towns in the region and the Governor & Legislature to successfully create more housing opportunitiesSupply shouldn’t be restricted-our policies for whom we build housing must ensure Cambridge doesn’t become a city of the very poor and very rich. Residents feel we are headed this way. Residential properties must increase.The common objective of many anti-growth and pro-growth advocates is to create long-term affordable housing without displacement. We need an equity-centered urban planning process that will result in more affordable housing options.I am an advocate of smart growth, which would restrict high-rise development in some areas, but allow it in others. In addition, I propose a rent-to-own mandate for large-scale development in addition to the already existing 20% set aside.Markets work and demand in the absence of restrictive regulation will result in new developement to bring supply and demand back into equalibrium.Cambridge needs to adopt a growth strategy that is balanced to meet the needs of all members of the community. The market is a complex, evolving organism that cannot be explained in simple math–the solutions that we employ must be similarly nuanced.Inaccurate to blame rising rents in Cambridge on "local anti-growth sentiment" Short answer: I’ve done the analysis, and the data shows that your thesis is factually incorrect! What this analysis clearly shows is that adding more luxury housing supply does not in fact make Cambridge more affordable.
Increasing the supply of market rate housing reduces pressure on housing costs overall.YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesYesNoYesNoNoNoNoYes
City statistics show that during the recession when less housing was being built, rent prices went up. Over the past five years, rent prices have stabilized as new housing has been built. Cambridge is not immune to supply and demand. This is just sound thinking – the less housing we have, the more landlords will be able to charge for all units across the board. We need to increase the supply in order to control some of the soaring rent prices in Cambridge. Enrico Moretti of UC-Berkeley: “Economic research on this topic is unanimous. There is no question that on net, adding more units tends to lower rents.” It is a regional problem and we need our neighboring towns to add their fair share of housing.We also need more housing aimed at middle to low income families. We need to find ways to facilitate housing through targeted approvals, more public subsidies, and supporting local nonprofit housing partners or smaller developers where available. Though luxury is a common term to market housing, these units will house middle/working class residents. Providing options for all income levels in all neighborhoods slows displacement helping house the many people contacting me daily for housingHousing production years in Cambridge in the previous three decades, with only three outlyer years, produced less than 200 units a year. The supply of market rate housing will never be enough to meet the current demand in our city. We must increase the stock of all housing, such as housing for low income, moderate income, and middle income people, not just market rate housing. Increasing the supply of market rate housing -across a region- can reduce pressure on housing costs in the long-term as long as there is lower- to middle-income rate housing to meet the demand of residents and prevent displacement in the short-term.I agree as a basic economic principle, however, I distinguish between luxury housing and market rate housing. In addition, mandating affordable housing set asides with development also put pressure on cost.Increased supply is the answer to escalating demandIncreasing the supply of housing may lower housing costs in the short term. However, creating upscale housing also incentivizes replacement of mid to low rent housing with upmarket development. So the long run impact can be to increase housing costs.Predatory capitalism is creating a "market rate" bubble.It depends on the housing type being added. I believe the largest pressure is on 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. Adding more single apartments would relieve that pressure however adding larger housing I don't think would effect prices on smaller apts.Cambridge's affordability problem cannot be reduced to supply & demand.Short answer: Despite adding more than 10,000 units in the last 20 years, a 25% increase, we’ve seen housing costs only rise and rise in Cambridge over that same period, as described above.
The affordable housing crisis in Cambridge can be addressed without private development and through the expenditure of public money alone.NoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNoYesNoNoNoYesYesNoNoNoNo
Inclusionary Zoning has provided close to 1,000 affordable units at no cost to the City. We only get IZ units when we build market rent units, which also offsets the demand for the existing stock of housing. Private money alone cannot solve this, nor can just public actions. Cambridge must work with our city partners to enact policies that promote housing creation and incentivize affordable housing creation.We need a multi-pronged solution that requires more subsidized housing, more market-rate developments, updated zoning, and new policies to ensure that our housing stock is used for people, not investments.The market is always a crucial component for supplying housing. Zoning and permitting can be focused on ensuring that developers who supply housing targeted to the middle class are given incentives like relaxed parking standards and speedy approval. We should always consider leveraging private investment to increase overall housing/inclusionary units. While I’m in favor of spending public funds on these housing efforts, only a combination of public/private investment can help us achieve our goalGiven the cost to build a new home or apartment in the greater Boston area being $400,000 to $500,00 we cannot depend on just public funding to solve this crisisA combination of private and publicly-financed development is important. While the expenditure of public money is essential, private development is also crucial to building new housing units in Cambridge for residents of all income leveCambridge needs to address the affordable housing crisis with a multi-faceted approach that includes public, private, and public-private partnerships and expenditures because, alone, neither will meet all of our needs.: It is impossible to solve this crisis without both public money and private development. The 20% mandate is a perfect example of how the two can work hand and hand. There is not enough public funding to adequately address the need for housing affordability or the needs for Affordable Housing. The reality for any city is that most new development will be privately financed. However, it is the city's responsibility to influence private investment in a way the most benefits the public good, alongside using public money to further this cause.The developers are EXTREMELY profitable, and they're misleading us.It's not an "either-or" proposition. Why do you suggest it is?Private development is a normal and necessary part of adding to our housing supply. However, it needs to be regulated so that we do not add 80% luxury and price everybody else out.
The City Council recently increased the inclusionary zoning requirement on new construction to 20 percent without making any additional changes to the density bonus or other dimensional requirements. Do you support making further changes to the program in order to ensure that the policy is effective? If you said yes, what changes would you support?YesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesNoYesYesYes
We missed an opportunity to address increased density. At the time and with the complexity of the issues that we were already dealing with, there wasn’t enough support for it. We need to address height and density in the next review of IZWe need additional measures to ensure that we’re doing all we can to encourage and incentivize the creation of affordable units, and to ensure that these units are going either to Cambridge residents or to those seeking to return here. We need more low/middle income units so we need to keep improving our policies and updating the zoning to support our city’s affordability and sustainability goals. For ex, new build has different considerations than an historical building.Density bonuses are critical. Density=Diversity. We could even structure such density bonuses to advocate for greater middle income housing.I support 20% because it is an example of how Cambridge can leverage the successful private sector. The program just passed, and we first need to observe its effect on the number of affordable units created and how the city manages the program. I would not consider any changes for a few years to determine the effectiveness of the current modificationsAfter closely monitoring the effects of the policy, if changes are needed to make it more impactful, I would consider those.The density bonus triggering inclusionary zoning is a 30% increase in the FAR. I support the 50% requirement that additional units provided be affordable. I would add these units provided through the density bonus are family-sized.To ensure stable, socio-economic diversity, and affordable housing options we need to explore different solutions such as setting aside additional units for moderate- to middle-income, senior, and family housing.: I am always open to reviewing and changing policies to make them more effective. Here, the overall goal would be an end result of more affordable housing and more rent-to-own. Increased density especially in the business sectors and along transit corridors is one of the few ways to add enough units to reduce the demand pressures.Cambridge's housing policies, including inclusionary zoning, should be under constant review. Periodic adjustments to improve program effectiveness are required. I am open to all policies with the potential to better accommodate everyone in our city.I am a little confused by this question. When you say 'policy' you mean the inclusionary zoning requirement? If so why do we need to change it to measure its effectiveness?add middle income requirementINCREASING the inclusionary zoning even further, WITHOUT any density bonus or other dimensional requirements. Adding middle income and family housing requirements.
Would you support including market rate housing in new development on city-owned lots if doing so increased the total number of below-market rate units in the project?YesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesNoNoNoYes
I filed the policy order asking the city to look into this. I support mixed income on these sites, low/moderate/middle. If adding market units gets us more affordable units, then I would support. Yes, I would support this if it meant we are getting additional affordable units.Our goal is to create more units for our low- and esp. middle-income folks, so we need to be open to any creative solutions. Plus, mixed-income communities should be a goal of Cambridge because they create healthy communities.In general, I think city-owned lots should be 100% affordable (with exception to RAD and CHA rehabs). I think this would depend on circumstances.One of Cambridge’s strengths is that exclusively single family areas or non rental areas are rare in our city. Massive increases in scale are not always advantageous, and good urban design and a robust community engagement process is required.Depends on the specifics of the project. This is too broad of a question to give a yes/no answer.As long as at least 20% of the units were set aside as affordableIf the additional density supported internal cross-subsidization of affordable homesOnly if 100% was not feasible and resulted in less affordable housing. City-owned lots should be used to develop affordable housing that helps low and moderate/middle income residents in Cambridge. Inclusive projects with diverse housing options—especially for working families, seniors, and middle- to low-income residents- is key to all projects. Including market-rate housing in some projects on city-owned land could help achieve this goal.Not only do I support including market rate housing in such cases, but also incorporating retail and commercial space giving incentives to local small businesses.My hope is that development on city-owned lots will be 100% affordable.I am not sure I understand the question? Are you inferring that market rate apartments would allow for taller buildings (more apartments) by such a degree that the affordable number would also go up?Building on public land means no land cost. That makes it the ideal place to build 100% affordableWe need more diversity in our housing stock than just luxury (“market rate”) and subsidized (“below market rate”). We also need middle-income and family housing to counteract displacement.
If a housing development near a transit hub is forced to reduce its proposed height resulting in less market and below-market rate housing what best describes your reaction:We just gave up a lot of potential housing for a minimal gain in comfort. Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing.We just gave up a lot of potential housing for a minimal gain in comfort. Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing.We just gave up a lot of potential housing for a minimal gain in comfort. Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing.We just gave up a lot of potential housing for a minimal gain in comfort. Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing.We just gave up a lot of potential housing for a minimal gain in comfort. Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing.We just gave up a lot of potential housing for a minimal gain in comfort. Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing.We just gave up a lot of potential housing for a minimal gain in comfort. Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing.We just gave up a lot of potential housing for a minimal gain in comfort. Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing.We just gave up a lot of potential housing for a minimal gain in comfort. Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing.We just gave up a lot of potential housing for a minimal gain in comfort. Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing.We just gave up a lot of potential housing for a minimal gain in comfort. Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing.We just gave up a lot of potential housing for a minimal gain in comfort. Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing.We just gave up a lot of potential housing for a minimal gain in comfort. Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing.We just gave up a lot of potential housing for a minimal gain in comfort. Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing.Cambridge is not a high-rise city, tall buildings should be discouraged. Reducing building heights preserves Cambridge’s character.We just gave up a lot of potential housing for a minimal gain in comfort. Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing.We just gave up a lot of potential housing for a minimal gain in comfort. Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing.Cambridge is not a high-rise city, tall buildings should be discouraged. Reducing building heights preserves Cambridge’s character.Cambridge is not a high-rise city, tall buildings should be discouraged. Reducing building heights preserves Cambridge’s character.We just gave up a lot of potential housing for a minimal gain in comfort. Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing.
This is what Mass & Main was about. Some on the Council cared more about shadows and height then they did about housing. In the midst of a housing crisis, how could I ever vote for shadows and height over the housing needs of the people of this city?“Shadows should not be prioritized over maximizing below market-rate housing” perfectly sums up my sentiments on this. Port Landing is one of the most disappointing cases of height-limited growth. Half a mile from the T, facing a large park, and tall blgs nearby, we took 10 yrs to build 3 stories. :( Waste of taxpayer funds when marginal cost of more floors is low!Height is a case-by-case issue, but as a general principle, I am for density and height. The need is too great. There is a middle ground in promoting development that reaches the highest and best use of a space, while keeping those projects integrated into the neighborhoods they’re in. We need a robust, macro level conversation about development in Cambridge.Though height must still be reasonableThere are nuances to this issue, not reflected in the above options. I don't believe in any height at any impact, but I do think we have the potential to increase density using height for specific projects The key is maximizing below market-rate housing. New housing should balance community input, good design, and mobility options in order to meet the needs of middle- to lower-income households. Housing near transit meets at least one of these goals and increases its likelihood for success.I am concerned about shadows, but I believe that we have to prioritize more housing, and therefore access to more affordable housing. More affordable housing near transportation hubs needs to be one of those priorities. Building high-rises solely to gain a small % of affordable units ignores context and livability, if that's what you mean by "character"Your phrasing about “Cambridge’s character” is very misleading. Cambridge is the 4th densest city in America with population over 100,000. Density is also part of our character, so to portray people in Cambridge as opposed to density is not accurate.
Vehicle emissions are a major contributor to climate change. Allowing more people to live in urban environments near transit nodes will help reduce car usage (and vehicle emissions) in Cambridge and prevent further suburban sprawl.YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Urban car ownership is declining while alternate transportation use is rising. We need to invest in bike infrastructure, work regionally to address rapid transit, and offer other modes of reliable transportation. Building around transit nodes is key.I agree with the sentiment here, though clearly the City and the Commonwealth need to be looking at ways we can bolster the reliability of our mass transit systems. Dense urban living is a great way to preserve open fields outside the city and reduce our footprint. We should also push our developers harder on net zero.I work every day on smart growth, transit oriented development policies. Density near mass transit fosters housing. Reduced parking requirements make housing more viable. It makes sense to build near transit options. As a tradeoff, requiring more bike storage options & subsidized T passes will minimize emissionsAs we produce more employment opportunities, we need to produce more housingYes. Housing near transit increases access to jobs, services, and activities, and it can decrease the cost and time for travel. It can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions that result from an over-reliance on personal vehicles.We also need to improve the mass transit infrastructure. My wife works in Danvers and drives our car. I walk 40 to 60 miles per week. I also use transit and ride share. I'm living this experience and it works and the health impacts are an added benefit.Development around transit nodes must be especially inclusive of those most likely to depend on public transit. Development that disproportionately encourages inflow of people unlikely to use it will not have the desired effect on car usage.Other metro area communities connected by transit also need to do their part to help manage sprawl and traffic.Piling more people into cities does not by itself solve climate change. We need a just transition to a fossil fuel free future and that includes ensuring that people can actually afford to live in cities that are also net zero, EV friendly and green.
Should Cambridge reduce/eliminate minimum parking requirements in the zoning code for new developments in areas well served by transit, bike share, and other alternative transportation options?YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Many of the required parking spaces in new development go unused. This is a waste of space & money. We should reduce the parking requirements where it makes sense & invest that money to support other modes of transportation and/or additional housing. I think we should certainly be open to reducing or eliminating these requirements in the cases where it could incentive the kind of affordable housing we are seeking.We are a vibrant urban community that relies more on transit, not car ownership. Lovejoy Wharf in Boston has 157 units, but no parking. A tower in Seattle has 4 floors of parking that can easily be converted into housing. Let’s drop parking reqs.As I've said before at an ABC meeting, I am concerned about low and mod income families who depend on a car. This could be misplaced, but we should mindful of it.Reducing parking requirements can help increase affordability, as parking adds costs to each unit built. There should be incentives for development along transit, walking, and bike corridors, which also increases the safety of our walkways. With our population increasing and the number of annual parking permits declining, it makes sense to examine reducing our current parking minimumsI would support reduction in parking requirements and consider elimination with good supporting data, but have some concerns that offering no parking would push new residents to park in surrounding neighborhoodsFamilies, senior citizens and individuals with disabilities who live in these new developments may need cars. I hope that space and costs saved by reducing parking would not only result in larger units, but in a greater number of units. Only for areas served by accessible transit including subway, bike share, and other equitable options for getting to work, taking children to parks and schools, shopping at the grocery store, visiting the doctor, and attending places of worship.There are no simple solutions, but this needs a comprehensive approach. Eliminating parking requirements negatively impacts local businesses and retail, not to mention burdens seniors and the disabled.Reducing parking minimums can encourage the use of public transit, but eliminating them may increase parking congestion on nearby streets. Cruising for parking is an important environmental problem that can be avoided with some dedicated parking.We should also explore Shared Parking to reduce the
amount of parking spaces created, reduce emissions, and
cut overall costs of housing for households with cars who live
close by acres of under-utilized parking spaces (i.e. Alewife).
In general theory I agree however before committing I would want to review all recent zoning appeals for less than minimum parking and their outcomes.Bike share without a network of protected lanes is inadequate substitute for access to public transitParking will largely become obsolete with self-driving cars and declining vehicle ownership. We should have a few surface parking spaces for the disabled and some loading zones. The rest should be underground with electric vehicle charging stations.
Which transit hubs (if any) in Cambridge should NOT see new residential development?None of the above - They are all appropriate for new residential development.None of the above - They are all appropriate for new residential development.None of the above - They are all appropriate for new residential development.None of the above - They are all appropriate for new residential development.None of the above - They are all appropriate for new residential development.None of the above - They are all appropriate for new residential development.None of the above - They are all appropriate for new residential development.None of the above - They are all appropriate for new residential development.None of the above - They are all appropriate for new residential development.None of the above - They are all appropriate for new residential development.None of the above - They are all appropriate for new residential development.None of the above - They are all appropriate for new residential development.None of the above - They are all appropriate for new residential development.AlewifeHarvard SquareNone of the above - They are all appropriate for new residential development.None of the above - They are all appropriate for new residential development.None of the above - They are all appropriate for new residential development.AlewifeNone of the above - They are all appropriate for new residential development.
All are appropriate, but each neighborhood is different. With the right infrastructure support, we can build more in Kendall, Alewife & Central. Harvard is a bit more complicated because of its historic preservation, but even there we can do more.The need for affordable housing isn’t just a Central Square problem, a Kendall Square problem, or a Porter Square problem. This city-wide issue requires that we look for areas all across the city in which to create affordable housing.Development can and should be shared across the city, taking each neighborhood’s needs into consideration. A diversity of residential development is appropriate in all areas of Cambridge. These transit hubs are not the only places to consider. Our city has over 50 miles of transit corridors and many residential areas in transition. Our income and family type and size demographics are changing, our city must change with them. As my recent Council order noted, the Divinity School site in Harvard Square is the perfect example of affordable housing being built at transit hubsAll the above transit hubs can see new residential development. With residential development, we must also do some thinking about how to connect these communities together, such as by building new units along the Mass Ave. corridor.All new residential housing developments must be in line with an equitable urban design and planning that includes meeting our City’s affordable housing strategy short- and long-term goals, improved transit network, and climate and resiliency plans. I see a need for new residential development in all transit hubs in Cambridge to not only address the growing population and increasing foot traffic but also address the housing affordability crisis in our city.Each of these would require very careful planning, but they should each be investigated fully. Development in Alewife must take into consideration the Alewife floodplain, which already threatens the safety of the thousands of people who live in that area. I do not oppose all development, rather I favor caution for this neighborhood.Of course there will continue to be residential development. But not all areas are suited for high-rises. Impossible to generalize. Protecting Alewife residents & habitat from flooding is key.Alewife is not a good place to build extensive housing because of the increased flood risks from climate change and the opportunity to use the area for light industrial and green infrastructure.
Which neighborhoods in Cambridge, if any, should be upzoned?Almost 20 years ago the council down zoned much of the city as a way of getting developers to the table to negotiate for additional community benefits. In many ways this worked. A downside is that whenever you talk about upzoning, even if the community benefits are significant, it creates a political nightmare and you may not get the best result. There has to be a balance between allowing enough height and density “by right” and also being sure that we are getting developers to the table. Cambridge is a series of neighborhoods closely abutting commercial and major thoroughfares. I think we should allow greater height and density along these major streets. One such place is Mass Ave. north of Harvard Sq. heading to Arlington. Having one, two and sometimes three-story buildings along that long stretch does not make sense. I also think areas such as Kendall and Alewife can provide greater density. With Alewife it would require greater requirements for flooding, as well as working with the State to address traffic and infrastructure issues, such as building a pedestrian/bike bridge to connect residential areas to the T. North point is also an area where greater density could work.I think we need to seriously review Central Square, Harvard Square, and North Cambridge as areas that might be appropriate for allowing greater heights and density to be built. As we often say, Cambridge isn’t creating any new land, so we need to be mindful about using what we have, assessing the needs of the people of Cambridge today, as well as where we think the need will be in 20 or 30 years. So long as we are deliberate in our decision-making and are willing to work hard to achieve a healthy balance between providing the necessary amount of housing without creating a situation where we’re not all living in one another’s pockets, we should be able to increase height and density in some parts of the community without sacrificing what we love about our city. Cambridge is a vibrant urban community that continues to grow. We should prioritize upzoning in areas that are close to T stations as well as along Mass Ave. This will allow us to increase density and access to transportation in key areas, while also preserving the charm and character of our neighborhoods. Envision Housing WG July 2017 report clearly shows which neighborhoods have become denser and which have not. We should find ways to share our city’s growth equitably across the city while also taking transit access and other neighborhood specifics into consideration. Central Sq along Mass Ave.The question is not which neighborhood to upzone, but how we tailor our housing strategy to work organically with the real fabric of the city. As I look around at neighboring communities, I see community-wide conversations about what residents want from their neighborhoods, and how real estate development can fit into that vision.This is an ongoing conversation that involves many community partners and a plan for our city. We are in the middle of the Envision Cambridge process and I look forward to hearing what the housing working group recommends. I support these continued and open conversations here in Cambridge, because I believe that we need to have foresight and vision to accomplish our goals. It’s only careful planning that we can build the public support necessary to make the wide-ranging and lasting changes to Cambridge’s zoning, and solve many of the nagging, long-term problems around development in our city.Kendall, Central, Porter, North Massachusetts Avenue, and Alewife.A1 / A2 districts in Neighborhood Nine and the Brattle St areaI don't know at this point in time In general, the neighborhoods in Cambridge with significant single, two-story, and three-story buildings on streets have the capacity to be up-zoned. Areas near transit zones, such as Alewife, Porter Square, and Central Square, seem to be good neighborhoods for targeted up-zoning. Porter and Central Square have many single or two-story buildings facing the streets that could see additional units placed above. I also support upzoning West Cambridge for new residential development. We could upzone Prospect St. between Central and Inman because of the proximity to Central, and Inman Square as well, because there is likely to be green line stop at union square. Upzoning where people work is also smart, because it will put less stress on the transit system overall, whether we are discussing cars, bikes, or the MBTA. The issue with Alewife is insufficient parking and that it’s difficult for people to get to the T without a shuttle. Upzoning can happen there, but developers and the City need to commit to improving pedestrian infrastructure. We need equitable and sustainable development based on a transparent and inclusive planning process to determine where and how we should upzone, develop and for redevelopment.I believe all neighborhoods in Cambridge have the potential to be upzoned in order to maximize the use of available space, deliver efficient urban planning, and address the housing affordability crisis in our city.I would support more upzoned areas where there are already high-rises in place, transit hubs in place and businesses already existUpzoning should be done along the major transit and roadway corridors. Huron Village is ripe for increased housing density, even if the surrounding neighborhood areas remain largely uneffected.I would prioritize growth in mixed-use neighborhoods near transit hubs. Growth must be paired with responsible guidelines so that upzoning does not inadvertently displace the diversity, culture, and people that make Cambridge a special place to live. I support selective, conscious upzoning, with primary consideration given to creating housing for the low and middle-income residents of Cambridge. If we lose these residents to growth, we irreversibly damage the cultural fabric at the core of our Cambridge identity.Lechmere and Kendall squareKendall can support more density, and also, the area around Mt. Auburn and west of Harvard University could support much more
I don't think there should be any blanket no upzoning area. Each proposal should be considered on a case by case basis.None. Land values are already too high in most transit-friendly areas.None. Upzoning is not a solution because all that would do is bring in more luxury housing development which makes Cambridge less, not more affordable! According to the CDD’s data, between 1997 and 2016, we added 10,749 units of housing in Cambridge, of which about 1,278 are subsidized affordable units. During that time, median monthly rents have increased by 100%, 75% and 75% respectively for 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom apartments in Cambridge. According to the same report, during the 11 year period from 2000 to 2011, Cambridge’s households earning above 100% Area Median Income (AMI) increased by over 34%, while households below 30% AMI increased by about 14% and those in between decreased by 27%! What this analysis clearly shows is that adding more luxury housing supply does not in fact make Cambridge more affordable. Indeed, the evidence indicates that it makes Cambridge less affordable overall, while adding some additional subsidized affordable units at an effective historical rate of about 12% (so nearly 90% of new units added were luxury!). While the recent increase in the inclusionary zoning to 20% will improve this rate, it is not nearly enough to counteract the crisis of affordability we are now experiencing.North Cambridge
Name one thing you would change about MITIMCO’s current zoning proposal for the Volpe site.I think that given the size of the project and the 60% commercial, that they can increase the affordable housing percentage to at least 25%, as Boston Properties agreed to do on their similar sized infill project. We need to maximize this opportunity. If that means we have to build higher, then we should. We need housing and we need to maximize affordable housing on this site. I would like to see the proposal include a substancial amount of housing devoted to student and grad-student housing. If that housing were offered by MIT, I do think it could help ease some of the burdens on the local affordable housing stock. I would also like to see the proposal place an additional 5 percent of affordable housing on top of what is required under the City’s Inclusionary Ordinance. We need to prioritize residential units over commercial space. So, we should swap the currently proposed ratios and instead build 60% residential and 40% commercial. Having spoken to many groups in Cambridge, this is a clear area of agreement. When we talk about residential, hotel space and dorms/student housing (if added) should not be counted as residential. We should also require that MIT build sufficient graduate student housing somewhere on its campus as a requirement of this project’s approval. It’s a once in a generation opportunity that will take a decade-plus to build, so it will be critical that we advocate for our future - not just what we see today. I always thought this would be a great site for a 40R smart growth development. Allows the city to be reimbursed by the state for density and increased school costs.The current MIT/Volpe proposal only calls for 40% of the development to be reserved for residential housing space, and I would like that percentage to be raised. One point of contention I have heard from students and residents alike is that MIT does not provide enough affordable housing for its graduate and PhD students. This leads to groups of students seeking out cheaper, market based housing, which limits availability for non-students and families, and drives up the rental prices for those who are unable to rent units with large groups of people (as students do). If MIT created more affordable graduate student housing, this would alleviate much of the pressure on the market-based rental stock in the adjacent residential neighborhoods. During this process, Cambridge has the opportunity to work with MIT during this process to develop at plan for more graduate housing on existing MIT land, and we should take advantage of this moment and seize that opportunity. A point related to this is that the current MIT proposal includes plans for a hotel, which is counted in the 40% “residential” development. Hotels, however, are NOT permanent residences - they are commercial properties and should be treated as such by including the hotel in the 60% non-residential, commercial spaces.I’d require MITIMCO to build a significant amount (over 1,000 units) of graduate student housing either on-site or in MIT’s West Campus (i.e. Sidney and Waverly Streets and Memorial Drive).Since other development projects have demonstrated that a large commercial mix can provide for an increase in an inclusionary percentage to 30%, I would like to see the same for MITMCO. I would also like to see a commitment for a significant percentage of family sized units ( 2-4 Bedrooms). In addition, increasing graduate housing options, preferably on lower campus, will allow commercial development on the Volpe site that can help produce the increase rate of inclusionary units to 30%. I would also like to see commitments and construction of the Grand Junction path, which I have been a long-time advocate, tied to the Volpe project. MIT is a major land owner along the Grand Junction path and I strongly believe that it is a great transportation project that will benefit the city and the region. I recently asked the City to incorporate my previous suggestion of a Grand Junction Overlay into the MIT petitionThere has been a meaningful community engagement process associated with this development, that I'm respectful of. My question wold be if everyone pushed the residential number of units as far as possible, given the site, and the appropriate opportunitiy for taller buildingsMITIMCO proposes building 60% commercial, and 40% residential on the Volpe site. This ratio should be flipped. Recognizing the housing crisis--including for MIT’s own graduate students--MITIMCO needs to prioritize building more housing, before building more jobs. In fact, the decision to support commercial development at the expense of residential development will further exacerbate the problem, by fostering heightened demand while simultaneously infringing upon the potential growth in supply. Increased prices will mean that MIT’s graduate students will pay more for their housing, while longer-term residents who rent in the area will increasingly be forced to move elsewhere. The effects of increased rent prices in the Kendall area spread throughout the city. A commitment for more affordable student housing.One thing I would change about MITIMCO’s current zoning proposal for the Volpe site is to include more graduate student housing and minimize the use of glass for sustainability reasons.I would add a rent-to-own mandate for a certain percentage of units, in addition to the current 20% affordable housing mandate. I would also like to see a provision for MBTA transit subsidies for those who qualify for the affordable housing. Even more housing units.I would eliminate the hotel currently being proposed for the Volpe site and replace that square footage with affordable, 2 and 3 bedroom family units. The current proposal calls for 4% of the 1.1 million square feet of residential space to be dedicated to affordable family-sized units. At ~1,300 square feet each, that amounts to approximately 34 units out of a projected 280 total affordable units. As MIT has little housing to offer graduate student families (no 3-bedroom apartments, and only 22 2-bedroom apartments at a mere 660 square feet each), this property seems ideally suited to meeting that increase the number of new units to 350 for low income and moderate income familiesI don't trust the fiduciaries of MITIMCO to help us with our affordable housing crises. They're part of the problem, and not part of the solution. Moreover, their investments are made off the backs of students who have seen their tuition rise 8%+ a year for the last few decades. I believe that their view is that a real estate investment in Cambridge is more lucrative than subsidizing a student's education at MIT. One thing that I'd change is this: Let's TAX MITIMCO's investments to more accurately reflect their for-profit motives.I read through the May 27, 2015 rezoning petition. I would need discussion with people involved and more research time to properly assess if anything should be changed.Need MIT’s commitment to build housing that's affordable for graduate students & other academic affiliates on its landMore housing, less commercial!More than 280 units should be designated for moderate-income households.
Please name and describe three specific policies that, if elected, you would propose to address the housing affordability crisis in Cambridge.Policy 1:: Incentivize greater density along Mass Ave. North of Harvard Sq. and in other areas as was done with the Central Square restoration zoning. As it stands, many of these areas can build up to 8 stories, however they don’t. We need to ensure that we are creating a climate that is conducive to building housing. I will continue to push for the establishment of a City Housing Ombudsman, to be situated in the City Manager’s Office (or, alternatively, to be situated in the Community Development Department but reporting directly to the City Manager). The City is providing a fantastic program with our Inclusionary Unit rentals and our homeownership programs, but we do not have an adequate, singular point-of-contact to track these programs, and to engage in troubleshooting and to help us form a coherent picture of what is and is not working with our housing programs. We may not have required such a position 20 years ago when the Inclusionary Program was created, but now – as we are nearing 1,000 rental units in the program – we must accept that the City very much is in the position of being an affordable housing provider; therefore, we need to have someone in a strong position of authority to fully manage this program and ensure that people being served by it have a reliable office to turn to when questions or concerns arise, and to work collaboratively with the other afforable housing providers. Begin implementing the recommendations from the Envision - Housing Working Group, which are comprehensive and wide-ranging! Use city funds to confront expiring-use. Engage with owners to take advantage of the state Donation Tax Credit (that I helped draft) by offering below market price to preservation non-profit. Advocate for co-op housing legislation for tenants to buy out or assign right to non-profit.Community land trusts are a policy option that have been successfully implemented in other neighborhoods around the Greater Boston area, notably the Dudley St neighborhood in Boston. Community land trusts encourage both the small town feel of strong neighborhood ties and affordability, because the land is owned and managed by its residents and cannot be resold. Not only are community land trust models having a positive influence on housing prices, they also bring together neighbors who are invested in their communities, and some CLTs have positive environmental impacts as well - they encourage activities like the formation of green space and urban farming. : Amend the zoning ordinance to allow for greater height and density on major streets and areas of mass transit while also reducing/waiving/eliminating parking minimums.Transfer fee on sale of all residential, commercial and institutional properties – buyer pays 1% of purchase price on any amount in excess of $2.5-million and an additional 4% of purchase price on any amount in excess of $5-millionAssess using public funding to 'buy' more affodability (beyond the 20% inclusionary) at different income levels in private developmentsThe City must preserve expiring use affordable housing. We have worried tenants in the Fresh Pond Apartments (Rindge Towers) who are rightly concerned even if we have some left. We must develop a plan for doing so. I'm glad we have 2.8 million in the budget but preservation will have to remain a priority. Create an Office of Housing Stability to provide resources and assistance to residents and landlords and explore strategies for stabilizing housing.Strict enforcement of the 20% inclusionary zoning. A-rent-to-own mandate for large-scale developments in addition to the current 20% mandate.Propose increased density and height allowances along Mass Ave, Memorial Dr, and other natural high traffic volume corridors.Institute a direct-leasing program like the one initiated by the Inclusive Communities Project in Dallas, TX where the city would lease directly from local landlords and immediately sublease to voucher holders. This overcomes explicit and implicit discrimination often faced by voucher holders and generates a database of local Section 8-approved housing. Additionally, this program would position the city to be able to negotiate with landlords and potentially help offset the difference between voucher levels and actual rents in increase new development units for low and moderate income families by 25%Shared Parking - we should be able to park in underutilized commercial parking lots around the Alewife area where I live after 6 PM and on weekends. By doing so, we're cutting down on emissisons since we're not looking around for on-street parking. Also, we don't need to build as much parking spaces in our tiny 6 sq. mile town, and finally, we could reduce the total cost of
housing by 6% instantly without having to build anything since we don't have to pay $175/month anymore for parking (if your rent is $3,000/month).
I would propose reviewing the feasibility of a property surtax tilted toward high-end homes that would be deductible against the owners income tax (concessions for local retirees); This would only tax and discourage out of town owners. Increase linkage feePolicy 1: Implement a foreign buyer’s tax to dampen real estate speculation.Co-housing.
Policy 2:Move forward on my policy order from this term to build housing on city owned parking lots in Central Sq. When the City is able to build on land that we own, we have greater say on what gets built. With land at a premium, we need to take advantage of any opportunity we have to build housing.I will push for a policy that reduces motor vehicle parking requirements for transit-accessible residential developments in exchange for additional affordable units.Establish a non-binding advisory group that residents and small developers can use to get feedback and guidance on their proposed plans before presenting them to the Zoning Board, which starts the official process. Somerville has a similar function in its Design Review Committee: Allows for a zoning overlay for increased density, so long as at least 20% of units are affordable. State reimbursements for zoning, bonuses for building, and 40S repayments for increased school costs due to new development.Policies like Somerville’s 100 homes program, where the city has a revolving line of credit that it uses to purchase homes in existing neighborhoods, with an emphasis on multi unit homes. The city keeps these residences in its rental stock, so that they are not torn down and turned into unaffordable luxury housing, allowing low and middle income families to remain in their homes and communities.Spend more of the city’s general operating budget on the preservation and creation of affordable housing.As I proposed in my recent Council Order, negotiate for affordable units on the Divinity School site. I will also continue to work to identify additional similar sites for affordable unitsSupport zoning that identifies areas (transit orient, for example) that provides density bonuses for additional affordablity (again, beyond the 20% inclusionary and at different income levels)Advocating for more housing data and using it to create metrics to address the affordable housing crisis. Using a data-driven approach will allow us to better understand the underlying problem, the relationship between demand and supply, the various income levels and corresponding willingness-to-pay thresholds, and more.Construction of more affordable on-campus university housing in order to alleviate housing pressure and increase diverse housing options for residents.Include a required 5% middle income housing in inclusionary zoning, as shown by the feasibility study, because Cambridge’s middle class is slowly shrinking while the wealth gap is continuing to expand.Increasing density around transportation hubs, or upzoning. Press Harvard and to a lesser extent MIT to build more housing for their graduate studentsContinue the effort to seize abandoned and unsafe properties, such as the Vail Court property, so that they can be renovated or rebuilt as affordable housing. The city's current stock of dedicated affordable buildings is discouragingly low, with wait times up to 2 years. Derelict buildings are unsafe and discourage community-building. Cambridge must take courageous action to send the message that we prioritize our community petition for a transfer tax on new commercial and industrial purchases.Develop more Municipal Housing and not rely on HUGE
developers like Equity, Avalon, bozzuto, etc. These
companies are EXCESSIVELY profitable, and on top of
that, they're loan sharks for anyone who's tried to pay
their rent with a credit card. They've lied to us for a while,
and they flip property in Cambridge on an industrial scale
I would propose reviewing the feasibility of adding middle-income requirement to the inclusionary zoning.Fee on land banking and vacant units Policy 2: Increase inclusionary zoning and add middle income and family housing requirements.Rent control.
Policy 3:Call on the city to be more aggressive in obtaining property to allow for greater production of housing as we did by purchasing property on Concord Ave. which will yield 96 affordable units and taking Vail Court by eminent domain which will produce additional units (we are not sure how many at this point). I will propose requiring the CDD to produce an annual housing balance report that will track new market rate and affordable housing development by neighborhood, to give us a more timely, more accurate assessment of our housing stock and our housing needs on a yearly basis. Having more accurate, more timely information will be an important tool for the City as we continue looking to tackle our housing issues. Immediately prioritize workforce housing for publicly-subsidized projects so that our government employees, nonprofit professionals, and younger employees can stay in Cambridge. Luxury Real Estate Transfer Tax: Somerville is developing a home rule that we should also look at. Surcharge on transfer of property of over $2 or $3 million. Money could be paid into the AHT for the city.Vancouver has an empty homes tax, which imposes a 1% tax of the property’s assessed value on housing that is empty or underused. Revenue from this tax will be reinvested to affordable housing. In Cambridge, this revenue could be put towards credit for a Somerville-like 100 Home program, or purchase of land for Community Land Trusts.Take over surface-level lots in Central Square for 100% affordable housing while also adding more height to the Green Street Garage (and enacting similar measures across the city).Upzone certain areas zoned A1 / A2 and propose that the City purchase large residential properties and convert to SRO’s: Identify how Cambridge can participate in (and drive) a more meaningful regional conversation and approach to the housing crisis. We can’t solve this on our own. Requiring universities to build affordable housing for their students. Undergraduate (MIT) and graduate (MIT and Harvard) students consume a significant portion of the housing in Cambridge, and because they often reside in Cambridge for a shorter period of time while expending significant financial investment in their education, their willingness-to-pay is higher than the longer-term residents’. This increase in demand drives up housing prices across the city. In building taller, more dense, housing units that encompasses most/all of their students, Harvard and MIT can help ameliorate the problem of heightened demand for housing in Cambridge. The housing crisis is a regional issue, and Cambridge can lead in coordinating on-going regional discussions for long-term solutions for the shared housing affordability crisis.Push MIT and Harvard to provide more graduate student dormitories that are enough to house more than 50% of graduate students.Curbing short-term rentals to one unit per owner. Too many short-term rentals drives up the price of housing and takes units off the market. Tax airBNB in order to discourage speculative buying and rentals. Tax speculative purchases where little or no improvements have been made.Continue to investigate the possibility of raising the inclusionary zoning percentage and the linkage fee for new development. Concrete observations and conversation with developers and community members after the 2017 increase should inform whether those two policies can be expanded further. If not economically feasible, I am committed to finding other ways to accommodate low-income residents in allow the continuation of section 8 program pass 2020 for residents in Rindge Apts. Be innovative with student housing! Let's consider many
things, including mixed housing for students and nonstudents with commercial kitchens and structured
similarly to a coop
I would propose reviewing the feasibility of a transfer tax to reduce speculation.Real estate transfer tax on commercial sales and high-end residentialPolicy 3: Increase linkage fees on commercial development.Section 8 housing.
Every candidate is talking about the housing affordability crisis. Why do you believe you would be better than other candidates at addressing this issue?Since joining the Council 4 years ago I have been a leader on this issue. I was the leading voice in getting Mass and Main to 20% affordable housing, the highest percentage in the city’s history at that time. I then led the effort to increase affordable housing on the Boston Properties site from 14% to 25%. I co-led the Incentive Zoning process that raised the amount commercial developers must pay the city for affordable housing from $4.56 per sq. foot to $15 per sq. foot. I also co-led the process to increase the Inclusionary Zoning percentage from 11.5% to 20%. I have a proven record of being able to work with both developers and affordable housing advocates. My ability to hold developers accountable, while maintaining a positive working relationship, has had positive results for Cambridge, especially for those in need of affordable housing. I would be better because I have been better. In politics as in life, past is prelude, and I have a clear record of pushing the City Council toward enacting policies that encourage smart and responsible growth and the creation of affordable housing. I have a record of pushing for achieveable results, for being upfront in my intentions to maximize the amount of affordable housing we can obtain, and of being mindful of the realistic constraints that the City and the City Council operate within. I understand that it might sound popular to push for far higher rates of mandatory inclusionary units or for much higher linkage fees, but that enacting these higher rates would chill development and yield no new affordable units. I am excited to continue working with A Better Cambridge because I fully embrace the “Yes In My Back Yard” ethos, and I am glad to have community partners who understand how and why we need to work, as a city, to push for policies that will get us the affordable housing policies we very much need. My campaign’s mission is to ensure that everyone in Cambridge has access to economic opportunity; good housing policy is critical to achieving this goal. When we talk about the affordability crisis, we have to understand who, specifically, is most impacted by rising costs and the threat of displacement (low-income families, single mothers, middle-income workers, the homeless, and our neighbors of color who lack equal means to build wealth). We also have to understand the full historical context and current opportunity that our housing policy represents, not just the technical aspects of zoning and development. Along with FAR, density, height, and upzoning, we should also be talking about income-based cliff effects, the points-based selection process, and the microsegregation of our small city. These are the issues I’ve studied for over a decade and that guide my thinking around housing policy. Additionally, as a management consultant with an MBA, I bring a strong background in data analysis and the ability to learn new technical topics quickly. In advising Fortune 500 executives, I know that getting the private sector to care about housing will be an important constituency. I also serve on the board of a national nonprofit that tackles poverty and inequality by helping small businesses grow (the World Bank calls it a top 25 “must see” program). Our city council is simply nine people who need to work together to make our city better and I have experience doing just that.I have significant experience working in housing. Every day I work on smart growth development, public housing, and homelessness. Moreover, I have experience working with non-profits on how to increase opportunities for the preservation of expiring-use housing, one of the most critical issues that the next counicl will have to negotiate. I have developed policies, emersed myself in the research, and engaged with the many and diverse stakeholders in the housing community. But I also take the calls from those among us facing eviction, or living on the streets. The office I work in helps connect people to resourcs so they can find a safe and affordable place to call home. I have the policy experience, a record of writing creative legislation, and a personal connection. I am from Cambridge. My family has been in Cambridge for three generations. This city gave my family an opportunity to climb into the middle class, like so many other families like mine across the city. I have seen our community and our diversity fall apart. I want to be a voice for those families trying to set down roots or trying to hold on in Cambridge. I think that my perosnal experience paired with my professional experience makes me the most ideal candidate in this race to work on the affordability crisis in our city and region. I am committed to not losing the diversity that made Cambridge a great city, and seeking ways to involve all of us in finding solutions for our housing problems at this extremely difficult time. The issues of food insecurity and housing insecurity are linked by poverty, and I have a track record of bringing people together to fix poverty-related issues. I understand that small steps can be taken to solve big problems. Hunger is a big problem that needs to be solved in parts - first with weekend hunger, then hunger over the summer, then hunger of the people who could not access markets (elderly and disabled residents). I also have an understanding of the ways in which issues intersect. I was successful in addressing hunger in affordable housing communities because I understood how to bring services directly to target populations. It’s important for the City Council, neighborhood associations, and community partners to work with developers and actively include them in our affordable housing conversations. We cannot alienate people who play a necessary role in getting us to our stated goals. Getting both sides to come to the table should be something the City Council openly pursues, and I have a record of bringing people with opposing interests together to find common ground. We don’t need one big policy to solve housing affordability; all options need to be on the table. Most importantly, we need a committed group of Councillors willing to work together on this complex issue.I grew up in and current live in a mixed-use and mixed-income building in Cambridge as the son of a single mother. I have lived many of experiences we are talking about. More importantly, I'm a coalition-builder and know how to get things done. It's not enough to state policy areas, we need entrepreneurial lawmakers who can make decisions for the greater good and build consensus around those ideas.Unlike many candidates who claim they support affordable housing, I have actually proposed creative solutions – from my Economic Justice in Cambridge housing proposals in the 1990’s to my current proposal to negotiate for affordable units on the Divinity School site. I have supported projects viewed as unfavorable because I knew they would have a positive impact for Cambridge’s working families. And I will also be proposing a transfer fee on the purchase of certain residential, commercial and institutional properties to help fund the City’s affordable housing program.I believe that Cambridge has unique resources and infrastructure and therefore needs to do as much as possible to support affordable housing, but I'm not dogmatic about how it should or shouldn't be done. I'm concerned that political discussion as created entrenched ideologies and we can't hear each other anymore. I bring the capacity to listen, identify external resources and data to better inform the discussions, and find solutions to address this issue.As a lifelong resident of Cambridge who has grown up in public housing, first in the Rindge Towers and then in the Roosevelt Towers , this issue is of personal significance to me. I understand the challenges faced by residents in public housing, residents who do not qualify for homeownership opportunities, and the urgency of their dilemma. I’m running for those family and friends who had to uproot their families from Cambridge, because Cambridge couldn’t be their home anymore. These days, folks will stay in public housing because they want access to the schools and recognize the negative impacts that moving and changing school districts has on their children. I have experienced firsthand the incredible opportunities young people have growing up in Cambridge, many of which were the result of a commitment by the City to providing opportunities to its residents, and others the result of living in a place with a wonderful diversity of people. At the same time, I have experienced my own parents turning down work promotions, so that they could remain in their housing. Therefore, I deeply understand why people want to stay here, why diversity must be valued, and why providing middle/moderate income housing in addition to low income housing is essential. I examine the problem with a different perspective, and I can draw from my experience as it is important for dedicated public servants to have the lived life experiences corresponding to the policies they are advocating for.I have had direct experience in affordable housing policy and diverse community engagement with an eye towards equity. I fought to protect affordable housing and will continue to advocate for the preservation and increase of affordable housing. As a former director of public policy, I organized legislative hearings and facilitated conversations among tenant advocates from the Chinese Progressive Association and City Life/Vida Urbana, as well as landlords and lawyers. Our work resulted in a landmark agreement that became a model for protecting the availability of affordable housing. I have also mediated an election of a public housing tenant council so that they could have the structure to represent and advocate for the residents’ needs. Through these experiences, I’ve gained valuable insights into the complex issues relating to housing affordability and stability.Because of my own personal experiences with housing instability, I feel especially committed to fighting for progress in affordable housing. As a university student, I am in the unique position to push forward smart development and collaborations with the local universities to open up more affordable housing units for Cambridge families. The city of Cambridge has some of the best universities in the world and we can work collaboratively with these institutions, to create innovative solutions to some of the issues our city faces. Students attending the institutions in Cambridge are excelling in a multitude of disciplines, engaging in meaningful service, and doing cutting-edge research, all of which can be contributed to bettering our community. The institutions have the resources to work with urban planning and policy but currently lack the encouragement and incentive to invest back into their local community. Many students are unaware that they increase the competition for affordable housing. Simply announcing my candidacy as a university student brought much attention from my peers and students of other institutions to learn more about Cambridge. By forming a task-force composed of representatives from the universities, the City Council, and the Community Development Department, I will bridge the divide that exists between the community and universities to pave the way for innovations and development that benefit us all. As a talk-show host, I have made a career out of establishing long-term relationships with elected officials at every level of government, as well as thought leaders, and community leaders. I will be able to bring those people and constituencies to the table in order to find the most effective solutions and implement them. I can also highlight these issues more effectively via my radio show. Having this additional platform enables me to effectively advocate for the people of Cambridge in ways that other candidates cannot. I have experience working in government and have spent many years developing the skills required to be both collaborative and effective. I'm also not afraid to make hard votes. When elected I will continue knocking on doors and staying connected to the voters. It's these activities that insulate incumbents from hard votes in the future elections.I have been a renter every year of my adult life. I have spent the last ten years in the same 500 square foot, subsidized apartment in large part because I cannot afford to move. I have put off having children, changing careers, traveling, and eating out. I even have gone without what most would consider regular everyday conveniences because my budget simply could not accommodate both them and living in Cambridge. But I stay because I love Cambridge. My experience sacrificing to stay is extremely common in Cambridge but shockingly uncommon in City Hall. Cambridge residents need representation by someone who understands them and who will be as directly impacted by the decisions of the City Council as they are. It is no longer good enough to elect politicians who promise to remember where they came from; we need councilors who are in the throes of these experiences right now. We cannot address the housing affordability crisis without electing someone who is experiencing the crisis first hand. I provide voters that option.Affordable housing is the biggest issue in Cambridge-- for that reason I have been holding community meetings in partnership with the head of the Rindge Tower Tenant Association, Pat Casola, since May of 2016. We are ensuring that the community is organized and can fight for permanent residency past the mortgage ending in 2020. Since the current councilors have no idea what will happen in 2020-- I have seen this as the major issue of my campaign and earned the endorsement of Pat through my work.I'm not afraid of thinking about possibilities. Please email me for some ideasI have years of experience managing people, projects, facilities and people. This experience makes me effective when approaching and implementing potential solutions to an issue as complex as affordable housing. For example my first steps would be to gather information from the City Manager, the Affordable Housing Trust, Residents, Advocacy groups (such as ABC), Devolopers, the Universities and other cities. Then discuss down to a handful of ideas and assess the potential impact of each. Then over communicate to the public to gather more feedback and implement the ones that make the most sense. This is the same approach I use for most issues.Because I think about issues broadly and deeply. I work full-time as a councillor and show up at all meetings well-prepared to discuss a broad range of issues from an informed perspective that recognizes there is no single right answer and that insisting there is drives a wedge into the community that is counterproductive to addressing a challenge of this scale and complexity.Because I actually do the data analysis, and the research to figure out the root causes of the problem, and look for solutions to address them. I work together with anyone trying to solve the problem, even if we disagree on the best approaches to take. I’m able to evaluate and integrate many different perspectives and objectives, and synthesize them into crystal clear proposals that allow us to move forward. I’ve been doing this for decades on the single biggest problem facing humankind: climate change. In 2013, I brought forward the net zero concept, which led to the current net zero action plan being implemented by the city. I’ve got a similar track record on renewable energy, climate change preparedness, small business engagement and many other complex issues. Those skills and that learning will allow me to lead the council in new, more effective and fruitful directions on affordable housing and other major challenges we face as a city. To reduce the overall price of housing in Cambridge, you have to add to the supply of non-luxury units, and our current policies don’t do enough of that to have the desired effect. According to the City’s inclusionary housing report, we are gaining population at the high income end at 7.5% per year, while losing population in the middle income levels at 6%. I would work hard to go beyond current policies that are effectively making Cambridge unaffordable to most people.I support affordable housing linked with a Youth Apprenticeship Program.
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