Recommended Candidates in the Cambridge elections

I got this email from Nancy Ryan, whom I met working on
neighborhood issues. She’s been intimately involved in Cambridge
politics for decades, worked for the city for quite a while as
director of the Cambridge Women’s Commission, and as executive
director of the Massachusetts ACLU.

I would add to her list that I’ve talked to people who’ve worked with
Fran Cronin and are enthusiastic about her bid for school committee. I
also think Craig Kelley works hard at communicating with voters, and
said some of the right things about the City Manager selection process,
or lack thereof.

In other words, I respect Nancy and will vote for everyone on her list
based on her recommendation if not anything else. I had independently
concluded that Dennis Carlone should get my number 1 vote. But I
usually continue on down the rankings (although I’m pretty sure my vote
always goes to my first, second, or third choice) quite a lot farther
than she does, so I will be ranking many of the people she doesn’t
mention ahead of other people she doesn’t mention.

Dear Cambridge Neighbors and Friends – Many of you have asked me what
I’m doing about the up-coming election so I’m taking the liberty of
sending my recommendations. Regarding City Council – this is a pivotal
moment in Cambridge. The city seems to be up for sale to large
developers who want to build upscale housing or commercial space in
high and dense buildings. Central Square is particularly a target. The
current City Council members have been inclined to grant up-zoning
petitions even with large protests from residents. There’s no overall
plan and huge development proposals about to be presented to the
Council.  Here are my recommendations and a request – would you
consider forwarding this email to lots of your friends and neighbors?
You can change it up to fit your own priorities but I URGE you to
recommend Dennis Carlone #1.

  1. Dennis Carlone – A 40- year Cambridge resident and first-time
    candidate, an architect and city planner in Cambridge whose motto is
    “Planning for People.” He designed and implemented the East Cambridge
    Riverfront project in collaboration with the neighborhood. Dennis is
    committed to making sure the city has a Master Plan for development,
    traffic and transit that works to make the Cambridge of the future a
    livable, affordable and diverse community. He has refused all campaign
    contributions from developers. He raised his kids here and has a
    broader agenda, but right now it’s his expertise and grounded
    temperament that are sorely missing among our current City Council
    members. There is no one we need more at this time.
  2. Nadeem Mazen – a young innovator and entrepreneur who opened two
    small businesses in Central Square — danger!awesome on Prospect
    Street that serves as a small digital engraving business and a
    training and mentoring center for young people; and Nimblebot.com that
    makes educational media and software for social entrepreneurs and also
    provides access to cutting-edge technology and job training. Nadeem is
    also a strong proponent of a master plan for development and traffic
    management as well as affordable housing. Having spent a few hours
    with him, I believe he can bring new ideas and energy coupled with
    leading edge skills and experience to City government. And he promises
    to stay in office only long enough to encourage and mentor other young
    people to step into his shoes.
  3. Minka vanBeuzekom – completing her first term on the Council, Minka
    has worked hard to bring her environmental experience to bear on many
    aspects of development and green space in Cambridge. She’s also
    diligent – it was Minka who discovered that Forest City had not lived
    up to its 25-year-old  commitments to maintain low- and
    moderate-income housing on its University Park campus during their
    request for a massive up-zoning of their property. Her discovery
    brought the process to a standstill until Forest City made good on
    their promises, saving a large number of peoples’ homes. Minka is the
    only incumbent I can recommend, even though I wish she were a more
    consistent and strong voice. I am trusting that with new members as
    potential collaborators and two years’ experience, she will come into
    her own.
  4. Marc McGovern – a strong advocate for the needs of families and
    children who, as a social worker in a therapeutic school for students
    with a range of emotional and learning problems, he has witnessed
    firsthand the needs of struggling parents and kids. As a School
    Committee member, he was willing to take controversial stands in
    behalf of the schools’ budget and the creation of middle schools
    because of his assessment of their impacts on the families most
    dependent on public schools. Because of his deep roots in this city,
    because of his stated commitment to increase affordable housing and
    early childhood education, I am putting some faith in him.  He will
    face temptations to finance increased services with large, mostly
    upscale housing developments that contain a very few affordable units.

That’s as far as I could go with City Council candidates.

School Committee – I am not deeply involved in the School Committee so
can only offer one strong candidate and some personal experiences or
comments that people have made about others:

#1 Kathleen Kelly – I have known Kathleen as a community activist and
parent and strongly recommend her as a first time candidate. She is a
unique combination of education and experience — a trained social
worker with an MBA who takes the social justice stand that public
education is the great equalizer in our society and has the capacity
to analyze budgets and policy to carry this commitment forward.

And in any order:

Richard Harding – is a lifelong resident of Area 4 and a founder of
the Port Action group focused on violence prevention and connecting
formerly incarcerated people with services and resources. He knows and
cares about the young people and families who most need an educational
system that supports all of our children. I have known Richard for a
long time and hope he is re-elected.

Patty Nolan – I can mainly say that Patty asks the difficult questions
and expects accountability from everyone.

Eleche Kadete – I have not meet this young man who graduated from CRLS
and went on to Brandeis, but I read his platform and on the basis of
that, I’ll vote for him. Here’s a link.

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