Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

January 3, 2015

Cambridge City Council Campaign Receipts: 2013 – 2014

Cambridge City Council Campaign Receipts: 2013 – 2014
(candidates exceeding 500 #1 votes in Nov 2013 election)

Ranked by Percent Receipts from Cambridge

Candidate Receipts Cambridge Percent
Kelley, Craig $11,441.00 $10,591.00 92.6%
Leslie, Logan $26,232.53 $22,745.00 86.7%
Carlone, Dennis $45,410.00 $37,506.00 82.6%
vanBeuzekom, Minka $31,757.70 $22,762.00 71.7%
Seidel, Sam $22,245.82 $15,362.00 69.1%
Cheung, Leland $344,288.91 $189,654.92 55.1%
Smith, Jefferson $39,940.00 $20,140.00 50.4%
McGovern, Marc $60,438.13 $29,294.00 48.5%
Simmons, Denise $41,809.92 $19,763.28 47.3%
Maher, David $85,918.30 $40,454.00 47.1%
Benzan, Dennis $67,096.00 $31,471.00 46.9%
Toomey, Tim $65,152.14 $25,507.80 39.2%
Mazen, Nadeem $61,962.14 $18,157.96 29.3%
Reeves, Ken $54,464.03 $15,493.88 28.4%

Ranked by Percent Receipts from Real Estate Interests

Candidate Receipts Real Estate Percent
Maher, David $85,918.30 $27,300.00 31.8%
Reeves, Ken $54,464.03 $16,875.00 31.0%
McGovern, Marc $60,438.13 $16,942.61 28.0%
Simmons, Denise $41,809.92 $9,650.00 23.1%
Toomey, Tim $65,152.14 $11,350.00 17.4%
Cheung, Leland $344,288.91 $30,350.00 8.8%
Kelley, Craig $11,441.00 $400.00 3.5%
vanBeuzekom, Minka $31,757.70 $850.00 2.7%
Seidel, Sam $22,245.82 $200.00 0.9%
Benzan, Dennis $67,096.00 $500.00 0.7%
Carlone, Dennis $45,410.00 $200.00 0.4%
Mazen, Nadeem $61,962.14 $0.00 0.0%
Smith, Jefferson $39,940.00 $0.00 0.0%
Leslie, Logan $26,232.53 $0.00 0.0%

Note 1: The totals for Leland Cheung include all money raised for his campaign for Lt. Governor, including $118,981.92 from the candidate.

Note 2: The reports for Nadeem Mazen contain many errors – wrong dates, many missing addresses, etc. The data has been corrected to the best of this writer’s ability and patience.

Note 3: The totals above include money loaned or given by the candidates. Since they are all Cambridge residents this greatly affects the totals and the percentages coming from Cambridge addresses.

Note 4: In some cases, candidate loans have since been repaid. The data shown has not been adjusted for this.

Note 5: Some additional receipts for 2014 may still be recorded. The tables may be updated to reflect this.

Note 6: The individual campaign contribution limit of $500 per year has been raised to $1000 per year starting in 2015.

Candidates listed alphabetically including total receipts, receipts from Cambridge addresses,
receipts from political action committees (PAC), receipts from identifiable real estate interests (RE),
percent from candidate (loan or donated), percent receipts from Cambridge,
percent receipts from PACs, percent receipts from identifiable real estate interests

Candidate Total Receipts Cambridge PAC RE Loan % Cambridge % PAC % RE
Benzan, Dennis $67,096.00 $31,471.00 $2,450.00 $500.00 $4,100.00 46.9% 3.7% 0.7%
Carlone, Dennis $45,410.00 $37,506.00 $480.00 $200.00 $16,000.00 82.6% 1.1% 0.4%
Cheung, Leland $344,288.91 $189,654.92 $7,850.00 $30,350.00 $118,981.92 55.1% 2.3% 8.8%
Kelley, Craig $11,441.00 $10,591.00 $0.00 $400.00 $25.00 92.6% 0.0% 3.5%
Leslie, Logan $26,232.53 $22,745.00 $1,000.00 $0.00 $15,325.00 86.7% 3.8% 0.0%
Maher, David $85,918.30 $40,454.00 $6,100.00 $27,300.00 $0.00 47.1% 7.1% 31.8%
Mazen, Nadeem $61,962.14 $18,157.96 $1,100.00 $0.00 $7,750.00 29.3% 1.8% 0.0%
McGovern, Marc $60,438.13 $29,294.00 $6,100.00 $16,942.61 $2,949.80 48.5% 10.1% 28.0%
Reeves, Ken $54,464.03 $15,493.88 $6,950.00 $16,875.00 $0.00 28.4% 12.8% 31.0%
Seidel, Sam $22,245.82 $15,362.00 $250.00 $200.00 $2,001.00 69.1% 1.1% 0.9%
Simmons, Denise $41,809.92 $19,763.28 $5,550.00 $9,650.00 $0.00 47.3% 13.3% 23.1%
Smith, Jefferson $39,940.00 $20,140.00 $3,475.00 $0.00 $17,220.00 50.4% 8.7% 0.0%
Toomey, Tim $65,152.14 $25,507.80 $9,225.00 $11,350.00 $0.00 39.2% 14.2% 17.4%
vanBeuzekom, Minka $31,757.70 $22,762.00 $500.00 $850.00 $7,500.00 71.7% 1.6% 2.7%

August 16, 2014

2013 Cambridge City Council Campaign Finance Receipts (Jan 1, 2013 through July 31, 2014)

2013 Cambridge City Council Campaign Finance Receipts (Jan 1, 2013 through July 31, 2014)

CandidatesCambridgeTotalCambridge %union/PAC %Real Estate %Notes
Benzan, Dennis$25,891.00$55,161.0046.9%3.3%0.5%$2,000 overpayment subtracted
Carlone, Dennis$34,796.00$41,650.0083.5%0.6%0.5%$16,000 from candidate
Cheung, Leland$21,366.00$51,385.3741.6%6.4%20.2%$2 from candidate
House, Janneke$12,177.24$14,811.7382.2%0.2%5.1%$6867.24 from candidate; $1132.76 reimbursed
Kelley, Craig$10,591.00$11,441.0092.6%0%3.5%$25 from candidate
Lee, James$1,800.00$1,975.0091.1%0%0%$1,800 from candidate
Leslie, Logan$20,520.00$24,007.5385.5%4.2%0%$13,100 from candidate
Maher, David$28,260.00$50,653.6855.8%6.6%22.4%-
Mazen, Nadeem$10,706.96$41,058.4326.1%2.7%0%includes $1750 in-kind, $3000 loan from candidate
McGovern, Marc$28764.80$58,228.1349.4%9.3%29.5%$1903.58 from previous campaign
Mello, Gary$500.00$500.00100.0%0%0%$500 from candidate
Mirza, Mushtaque$17,786.00$19,983.0089.0%0%0%$17,000 loan; $16793.84 apparently forgiven
Moree, Gregg J. $2,400.00$2,400.00100.0%0%0%$2,400 from candidate not itemized
Peden, Ron$500.00$500.00100.0%0%0%$500 from candidate not itemized
Phillips, Lesley$500.00$500.00100.0%0%0%-
Reeves, Ken$14,343.88$67,362.9321.3%9.3%25.0%Campaign headquarters greatly underreported; accounting unclear
Seidel, Sam$15,362.00$22,245.8269.1%1.1%0.9%$4,001 from candidate
Simmons, Denise$16,125.00$35,222.0245.8%14.1%20.3%-
Smith, Jefferson$20,040.00$39,440.0050.8%6.0%0%$17,220 from candidate; confused accounting
Toomey, Tim$15,969.43$41,083.7738.9%13.6%22.1%-
vanBeuzekom, Minka $22,512.00$31,757.7070.9%1.3%3.0%$7,500 from candidate
Vasquez, Luis$1,375.00$2,410.9657.0%0%0%-
von Hoffmann, Kristen$6,351.33$17,166.4537.0%0%1.7%$1,750 loan; $1640.33 in-kind forgiven
Williamson, James-----no reported receipts
Yarden, Elie-----no reported receipts

Note: Receipts include candidate loans which can greatly increase the percentage from Cambridge. Fees are included and reduce total receipts. Percentages for unions/PACS and identifiable real estate interests (RE) are shown. The total receipts in the first graph below includes all receipts reported by the bank. Bank receipts in some cases do not match the reported itemized receipts. All figures taken from Mass. Office of Campaign & Political Finance (OCPF) reports.

Two candidates in particular, Nadeem Mazen and Jefferson Smith, have financial reports that are especially difficult to decipher due to their liberal use of credit cards which resulted in some expenses being counted twice. I corrected the data as much as I could, but both campaigns could have used a competent treasurer.

Additional information, including expenditures, may be found at http://cambridgecivic.com/?p=2660.

These figures will be updated as additional information becomes available.

Receipts
Total Itemized Receipts – 2013 (through Dec 14)


Cambridge Percentage
Percentage of Itemized Receipts from Cambridge – 2013 (through Dec 14, minimum $2000)

Cambridge Receipts from Others
Percentage of Itemized Receipts from Cambridge w/o Candidate Loans


Percent Real Estage
Percentage of Itemized Receipts from Real Estate/Developers – 2013 (through Dec 14, minimum $5000)

June 4, 2014

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 61 and 62 – News and Commentary

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 61 – News and Commentary (Part 1).

This episode was broadcast on June 3, 2014 at 5:30pm. Co-hosts are Susana Segat and Robert Winters. The main topics we touched on were (1) upcoming events [including the Cambridge River Festival in Central Square (June 7) and the Citywide Dance Party (June 27)], (2) a proposal “to prohibit the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling shows and circuses”, (3) the migration of fish in the Charles River, (4) the upcoming Democratic convention, (5) updates on several municipal election reform proposals). [On YouTube]

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 62 – News and Commentary (Part 2)

Broadcast June 3, 2014 at 6:00pm. Co-hosts are Susana Segat and Robert Winters. Topics include (1) “Cambridge Conversations” conducted by Community Development prior to future “master plan” process, (2) a variety of matters relating to Central Square including the possibility of pushcart vendors and food trucks, (3) proposal to build low/middle income housing on a Central Square parking lot, (4) possible future uses for the Cambridge DPW Yard, (5) updates on the disposition of the Sullivan Courthouse and the prospect of future lawsuits, and (6) the approval of the FY2015 Budget and upcoming City Council meetings. [On YouTube]

June 2, 2014

On the Menu at the June 2, 2014 Cambridge City Council meeting

Filed under: Cambridge,campaign finance,City Council — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 2:53 pm

On the Menu at the June 2, 2014 Cambridge City Council meeting:

Money!The central item on this week’s agenda is the approval of the FY2015 Budget.

Unfinished Business #6-12: Public Investment loan authorizations totaling $15,405,655. In addition to funds for a variety of other essential investments, this sum includes $9,205,655 for various water pollution abatement projects, including construction of sewer separation, stormwater management and combined sewer overflow reduction elimination improvements within the City’s Western Avenue and Agassiz areas as well as the Sewer Capital Repairs Program and public toilet installation at Harvard Square.

Committee Reports #1-3: Finance Committee reports for public hearings held on May 8, 2014, May 15, 2014 and May 21, 2014 relative to the General Fund Budget ($488,932,550), the Water Fund Budget ($13,964,275), and the Public Investment Fund ($16,548,370) for the City of Cambridge for Fiscal Year 2015.

Perhaps the only loose end is the tempest over the Cambridge Health Alliance plan to merge its Psychiatric Emergency Service (PES) and main emergency room at Cambridge Hospital. As is often the case, the submitted Budget will likely be passed with little or no change.

Reconsideration #2. [Order #13 of May 19, 2014]: That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Law Department, the Election Commission, and the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance to determine the feasibility of publicly funded elections for Cambridge, taking into account models for implementation from other municipalities as well as the exploration of new publicly funded models. Councillor Mazen and Councillor Carlone [Order Adopted as Amended, Reconsideration Filed by Councillor Mazen; Motion to refer to Gov’t Operations approved on a 5-3-1 Roll Call vote with Benzan, Cheung, Simmons, Toomey, and Maher voting YES; Carlone, Mazen, McGovern voting NO; Kelley ABSENT]

Communications #7-62 (56 in all): Sundry communications regarding public financing of elections.

This is a bizarre choice on the part of Councillor Nadeem "Occupy" Mazen. Introducing the May 19 Order to look into the possibility of public funding for Cambridge municipal elections was a perfectly reasonable thing to do, and the matter was appropriately referred to the Government Operations Committee for further discussion and possible action. The content of the Order was not amended at the previous meeting, so the objection here is purely about whether the matter should have been referred to committee. Apparently, Councillor Mazen wants this matter to only be discussed before the full City Council during its televised regular Monday meetings and he feels so strongly about this that he filed for Reconsideration and organized an email campaign to have his way. I expect there will be some public comment on this, but it’s hard to imagine a majority of the City Council reversing its sensible choice to refer this matter to the committee where it belongs. My sense is that Councillor Mazen would prefer to have the discussion "out in the streets", but he will likely have to settle for "in committee".

The matter of publicly funded municipal elections is interesting for a number of reasons, though it’s not at all clear whether any are applicable in this context. The chief motivations seem to be (a) lowering the barrier for entry for candidates, (b) increasing the ideological and socio-economic diversity among candidates, (c) expanding the range of policy positions put before the electorate, (d) making elections more competitive, and (e) reducing the influence of private contributions on both candidates and officeholders. Well, at least this is what is contained in the text of the Order.

In Cambridge it only takes 50 valid signatures to be a municipal candidate, so there is effectively no barrier for entry. What a candidate does after entry is another matter. Councillor Kelley and School Committee member Fantini run very effective campaigns on very little money simply be maintaining effective communication with their potential voters. Other candidates choose to hire "rent-a-campaigns" from a variety of companies such as Sage Systems and, yes, this requires money. It’s noteworthy that the incumbent candidate who spent the most in the 2013 election was defeated, so it’s clearly not just about the money.

As for ideological diversity among the candidates, anyone who attended any of the 2013 candidate forums will attest to not only a diversity of opinion but also a diversity of competence. It’s also important to emphasize that in a PR election it’s possible to target your campaign to ultimately achieve the 10% of ballots (14.3% for School Committee) necessary for election, but you do have to be a match for some constituency. In this regard the barrier to election is not nearly so high for candidates representing diverse points of view. Proportional representation facilitates diverse points of view. I worry that public funding in a PR election might translate into a group getting a dozen or more people to run as a slate where the individual candidates receive public funds and then pool their resources to fund their slate. There is clearly a lot of detail that warrants further discussion before wandering down this road.

The real problem in the Cambridge municipal elections is the difficulty in getting a less-than-interested electorate to spend a minimum amount of time getting familiar with the candidates. It’s also not so appealing for a resident to actually choose to be a candidate – and this is not primarily because of the associated cost. I get the feeling that the role of campaign contributions from people associated with real estate interests may be a major factor in why some people might support publicly funded elections, but if we are to question this practice then we should also raise questions about money from unions, money from outside of Cambridge, and money from various other sources having nothing to do with municipal governance. The fact that campaign managers are subsequently hired as "Council Aides" should also be on the list of practices in need of closer scrutiny. If there’s any one reform I would welcome it would be a cap on spending, but that would almost certainly run afoul of constitutional rights.

Manager’s Agenda #10. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to proposed amendments to the Tobacco Ordinance (Chapter 8.28, Restrictions on Youth Access and Sale of Tobacco Products and on Smoking in Workplaces and Public Places). This amended ordinance includes recommendations previously transmitted to the City Council on July 29, 2013 and includes additional amendments that have subsequently been added. [Read Report]

While I imagine the proposed amendments will ultimately be supported, I expect there will be some lively discussion in the Ordinance Committee specifically on the proposals (a) to prohibit smoking in all parks and municipal open space, and (b) to prohibit smoking in all outdoor seating areas adjacent to restaurants where food is served.

Resolution #15. Urging members of the Cambridge community to participate in the Charlene Holmes memorial walk on June 3rd, 2014.   Councillor Cheung

I’m grateful that some people are keeping this matter in the public eye. To the best of my knowledge there have been no arrests in the murder of Charlene Holmes even though many have suggested that the killer may be known to witnesses of the murder.

Order #1. That the City Manager work with the Police Commissioner to ensure that only in cases where immigration agents have a criminal warrant, or Cambridge officials have a legitimate law enforcement purpose not related to immigration, will Cambridge Police comply with federal ICE detainer requests to hold persons solely for immigration purposes.   Councillor Carlone, Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor Cheung

Cambridge follows Mayor Curtatone of Somerville. Even if this change in policy is a good idea, it would be very helpful to hear the perspective of the Cambridge Police Department prior to implementing such a policy.

Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the appropriate City Personnel and with the Central Square Business Association in order to establish a Central Square Action Team that will be charged with recommending and helping implement strategies that will help Central Square to capitalize on and enhance its designation as a Cultural District in the months and years to come.   Councillor Simmons

Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate City departments to determine the feasibility of installing a large screen at a central location, like Lafayette Square, in order to project a number of soccer matches involving the United States and countries that are representative of the Cambridge resident population and determine the feasibility of granting special permits to food trucks and other food vendors during the duration of these games.   Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor McGovern

Order #13. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate City departments to determine the feasibility of developing units of up to 100% affordable, middle-income, senior, and family housing units at the corner of Bishop Allen Drive and Norfolk Street and a plaza in Central Square with affordable food and retail space.   Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor McGovern

The potential of Central Square appears to now be a high priority for some of our city councillors. On a related note, the Cambridge River Festival will take place this Saturday, June 7 from noon to 6:00pm in Central Square (due to construction along Memorial Drive). Order #13 will require a lot more discussion – especially in the context of the range of recommendations presented during the recent K2C2 process.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council with an update on the City’s composting pilot program.   Councillor Toomey

I’ll be interested to see the numbers, but the pilot program was only recently begun and it’s doubtful whether the data will be sufficiently informative to draw any conclusions at this point.

Order #6. That the City Manager confer with the Community Development Department, the Public Works Department, the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and any other relevant City Departments to discuss ways in which the city can improve the design of New Street for both pedestrians and vehicles, and report back to the City Council with recommendations.   Councillor McGovern, Councillor Carlone and Mayor Maher

I wandered around the New Street area after spending the afternoon at the very well-attended Fresh Pond Day event on Saturday. This Order addresses what the obvious deficiencies are for this street – insufficient sidewalks, very poor parking practices, and the basic fact that it was not originally laid out as a typical residential street. Contrary to the general alarm about new housing being developed on New Street, I would characterize the housing built to date as maybe being a little on the bland side but I simply cannot fathom why people see this moderate scale housing as constituting some kind of a crisis. If some features of the street, the sidewalks, and the parking are reconfigured, and if laws regarding blocking the public (pedestrian) way are enforced, this could be a dandy residential street right across from the city’s biggest park. Then again, actual solutions do often get in the way of political organizing.

Order #8. That the City Manager confer with the Community Development Department to work with local banking institutions to ensure financing opportunities are available for residents wishing to purchase shares in limited equity cooperative housing within Cambridge and also research and explore options for expanding the limited equity cooperative housing stock with Cambridge.   Councillor Mazen

I remember when limited equity coops were all the rage during the rent control era. I’d be interested to see just how many of them were actually established and if all of them are still active. It may be a good alternative today and could potentially provide some of the affordable housing that City officials desire with minimal need for City involvement. I’d love to hear what objections the banks may have to financing them. Perhaps it’s the potential difficulties associated with the restrictions on re-sale, but surely this is something the lawyers and banks should be able to work out. Buying into a limited equity coop may not be for everyone, but it’s probably a good option for some.

Order #10. That the City Manager confer with the Cambridge Community Development Department and the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department on the feasibility of creating designated parking stalls for food truck vendors in areas that allow them to sell their food but not harm established brick and mortar restaurants, and proactively finding spots on private roadways willing to host food trucks, and to compile a comprehensive list that offers clarity and certainty on available and suitable locations.   Councillor Cheung

Having once worked on a hot dog truck as an adolescent, I hope we can find a way to accommodate a wide variety of food vendors – trucks, carts, stands, etc. The Order refers to "culinary entrepreneurs" and "restaurant quality food." I do hope this includes such things as hot dogs, bagels, pretzels, sausages, and maybe even a cold fizzy drink on a hot day.

July 29, 2012

2011 City Council and School Committee Candidates – Campaign Finance Reports

Filed under: 2011 Election,campaign finance,City Council,School Committee — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 6:00 pm

The 2011 Cambridge municipal election for City Council and School Committee has come and gone, but the money continues to flow in and out of the candidate campaign accounts. Campaign finance reports are one indicator of the strength of a campaign, but some candidates can and do run successful campaigns on a shoestring. Other candidates raise and spend extraordinary amounts of money and are either not elected or barely squeak through.

Below are the 2011-2012 figures for City Council and School Committee candidates and the totals for the previous two years (2009-2010) for both City Council and School Committee candidates.

There were several interesting new candidates in 2011 for both City Council and School Committee and several strong candidates from 2009 who made another run.


City Council Candidates
2011-2012 City Council Campaign Finance - 2011 Candidates (updated Sept 1, 2012)
CandidateOpenReceiptsExpendituresBalanceDate#1 Votes$/VoteNotes
Cheung, Leland$8081.63$72635.06$75314.53$5402.168/15/20122017$37.34
Davis, Henrietta$2818.98$54310.99$54472.00$2657.977/31/20121436$37.93
Decker, Marjorie$1775.77$93365.89$70094.79$25046.874/30/20121123$62.42includes $ raised for 2012 State Rep. race, no add'l reports
Kelley, Craig$9765.37$12211.25$13714.54$8262.088/15/20121098$5.66$7500 candidate reimbursement subtracted
Maher, David$17868.78$53283.00$70661.02$490.768/15/20121686$41.91
Marquardt, Charles J.$3459.50$11063.25$11046.37$3476.388/15/2012501$22.05
Mello, Gary$0.00$487.02$487.02$0.002/29/2012135$3.61reimbursements subtracted, committee dissolved
Moree, Gregg$0.00$4873.20$4921.45-$48.254/15/201256$87.88account overdrawn
Nelson, Matt$2164.50$15386.53$16532.93$1018.108/15/2012542$30.50
Pascual, Jamake$0.00$60.00$60.00$0.005/31/201263$0.95
Reeves, Ken$4780.97$59515.65$55264.23$9032.398/15/20121013$54.56
Seidel, Sam$2007.45$20725.72$22389.30$343.878/15/2012788$28.41
Simmons, Denise$2972.36$36700.17$33739.41$5933.128/15/20121266$26.65
Stohlman, Tom$2734.24$475.00$2184.42$1024.827/31/2012344$6.35
Toomey, Tim$4886.73$45902.63$47646.53$3142.831/31/20121705$27.95no longer on depository account - no records for 2012
vanBeuzekom, Minka$2879.00$34725.66$34787.38$2817.288/15/20121038$33.51
Ward, Larry$248.47$16753.83$17002.30$0.004/30/2012835$20.36Account apparently closed
Williamson, James$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.004/15/2012175$0.00

A detailed report is here: http://rwinters.com/elections/CCfinance2011-2012.pdf (updated periodically)


City Council Campaign Finance (2009-2010) - updated Feb 18, 2012
CandidateOpenReceipts (2009-10)Expend. (2009-10)BalanceDate#1 Votes$/VoteNotes
Adkins, Lawrence$34.93$495.00$199.80$330.1312/31/2010103$1.94
Cheung, Leland$0.00$21757.50$13675.87$8061.6312/31/2010756$11.48$5000 repaid loan subtracted
Davis, Henrietta$11185.16$57901.70$66267.88$2818.9812/31/20101858$35.67
Decker, Marjorie$1867.27$101624.90$101716.40$1775.7712/31/20101285$79.16includes money related to State Senate campaign
Flanagan, Mark$0.00$140.35$140.35$0.0012/31/2010112$1.25
Glick, Silvia$0.00$12466.22$12424.01$42.2112/31/2010256$48.53
Kelley, Craig$6465.86$12620.92$9321.41$9765.3712/31/20101250$7.46
Leavitt, Neal$0.00$5856.17$5439.21$416.9612/31/2010136$39.99
Maher, David$12827.62$58636.50$53595.34$17868.7812/31/20101286$41.68
Marquardt, Charles J.$0.00$34909.40$31449.90$3459.5012/31/2010385$81.69
Nelson, Matthew P.$0.00$2255.00$90.50$2164.5012/31/2010--Filed papers for candidate account (Dec 2010)
Podgers, Kathy$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.0012/31/201078$0.00no records
Reeves, Ken$6401.11$65906.34$67526.48$4780.9712/31/20101166$57.91
Seidel, Sam$775.16$27934.02$26701.73$2007.4512/31/2010900$29.67
Simmons, Denise$8689.90$117709.78$120780.40$5619.2812/31/20101785$67.66includes money related to State Senate campaign
Stohlman, Tom$0.00$5525.00$2790.76$2734.24 12/31/2010378$7.38
Sullivan, Edward$3950.24$25100.00$28420.48$629.7612/31/2010885$32.11
Toomey, Tim$34043.27$68070.73$97092.27$5021.7312/31/20101748$55.54includes money related to State Rep. campaign
vanBeuzekom, Minka$0.00$22097.64$19218.64$2879.0012/31/2010682$28.18
Ward, Larry$132.86$16933.34$16817.73$248.4712/31/2010736$22.85
Williamson, James$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.0012/31/201090$0.00

A detailed report is here: http://rwinters.com/elections/CCfinance2009-2010.pdf


School Committee Candidates
School Committee Campaign Finance (2011-2012) - updated Feb 18, 2012
CandidateOpening BalanceReceiptsExpendituresCurrent BalanceDate#1 Votes$/Vote
Fantini, Fred$4235.79$4543.00$5708.86$3069.9312/31/112371$2.41
Forster, Bill$0.00$1527.19$494.45$1032.7412/31/11330$1.50
Gerber, Joyce$0.00$2310.00$2259.63$50.3712/31/11434$5.21
Harding, Richard$86.88$9484.53$9565.86$5.5512/31/111850$5.17
Holland, John$0.00$7945.00$7680.72$264.2812/31/11388$19.80
McGovern, Marc$2500.00$15837.00$16053.00$2284.0012/31/111771$9.06
Nolan, Patty$386.47$7779.00$8079.89$85.5812/31/112126$3.80
Osborne, Mervan$0.00$31109.19$29948.74$1160.4512/31/112065$14.50
Stead, Charles$0.00$406.18$406.18$0.0012/31/11293$1.39
Tauber, Nancy$141.36$11233.29$9912.00$1462.6512/31/111490$6.65
Turkel, Alice$3600.53$11344.48$13506.44$1438.5712/31/112111$6.40


School Committee Campaign Finance (2009-2010) - updated Feb 18, 2012
CandidateOpening BalanceReceiptsExpendituresCurrent BalanceDate#1 Votes$ per #1 vote
Fantini, Fred$4966.00$6080.38$6810.59$4235.7912/31/102045$3.33
Grassi, Joe$10.00$6205.00$6225.88-$10.8812/31/101881$3.31
Harding, Richard$0.00$10710.60$10623.12$86.8812/31/101996$5.32
McGovern, Marc$1873.00$17741.00$17114.00$2500.0012/31/101954$8.76
Nolan, Patty$1385.69$9645.00$10644.22$386.4712/31/101745$6.10
Stead, Charles$0.00$599.87$599.87$0.0012/31/10392$1.53
Steinert, Alan$0.00$26540.00$26539.98$0.0212/31/101447$18.34
Tauber, Nancy$223.82$9875.00$9957.36$141.3612/31/102043$4.87
Turkel, Alice$0.00$21904.69$18304.16$3600.5312/31/101793$10.21

Click on the field names to sort in ascending order and again to sort in descending order.

As always, you can look this up yourself at the website of the Office of Campaign & Political Finance (OCPF) to get the most current information.

Cambridge Candidate Pages

December 12, 2011

Now Featured on the Dec 12, 2011 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Filed under: campaign finance,City Council — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 12:02 pm

Now Featured on the Dec 12, 2011 Cambridge City Council Agenda

The agenda is short but potentially interesting. Here are a few items worthy of a comment or two:

Manager’s Agenda #8. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $100,000 to the Community Development Public Investment Fund Extraordinary Expenditures account which will be used to pay for design consultant services for a proposed bicycle & pedestrian path along the former NECCO railroad spur in Cambridgeport.

This is personal highlight in that I recall making the initial suggestion for this at a meeting of the Central Square Advisory Committee when Novartis first presented its plans to occupy the old NECCO candy factory. The old RR line once brought in trainloads of sugar to the NECCO plant.

Manager’s Agenda #9. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to four appropriations totaling $1,204,701 to the Community Development Public Investment Fund Extraordinary Expenditures account. These appropriations will be used to pay for the purchase of and a three year maintenance contract for Hubway bike share stations, holding 220 bikes at 22 stations located in the densest areas of the City. [The total of this appropriation is derived from the following sources: Metropolitan Area Planning Council through funds received by a Federal Transit Administration Grant ($630,640); Massachusetts Department of Transportation through funds received by a Federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Grant ($274,061); Harvard University ($200,000) and; Massachusetts Institute of Technology ($100,000). The Hubway Bike Share system is expected to be launched in the spring of 2012 and will operate approximately nine months per year and be removed during winter months.]

On balance, the availability of the Hubway bikes in Cambridge is a nice added convenience for those who choose not to use their own bicycles for short-trip transportation. One potential advantage I see is less worry about bicycle theft (presumably most of that liability will fall to Hubway). There are still some awkward details to be worked out about the location of the Hubway stations. For example, there have been some concerns expressed by people who work at the City Hall Annex (344 Broadway) that some of the landscaping would be removed to accommodate the bikes. Alternately, on-street parking spaces could be removed. In any case, convenience does have its costs.

Unfinished Business #10. A communication was received from D. Margaret Drury, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Sam Seidel, Chair of the Ordinance Committee for a public hearing held on Sept 14, 2011 and a follow-up public meeting on Oct 25, 2011 to consider a re-filed petition to amend the zoning ordinance filed by Chestnut Hill Realty. The petition would allow creation by special permit of rental apartment units in basement units of existing multifamily residential buildings in Residence C Districts which meet the special permit criteria. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Nov 28, 2011. Planning Board hearing held Sept 6, 2011. Petition expires Dec 13, 2011.

Communications #3. A communication was received from Heather Maguire Hoffman, Co-President, Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods, regarding the Chestnut Hill Realty petition.

As has been stated repeatedly here, this is The Petition That Will Not Die – twice disapproved by the Planning Board with numerous questions raised by the City Engineer, and accompanied by gobs of cash directed to the campaign accounts of several city councillors. It’s actually quite telling that there is such activity to approve some variant of this petition before its Dec 13 expiration. Squeezing in basement apartments (legal or otherwise) to make some extra cash has been going on for a long time, and stories of mold and flooding problems have often accompanied these units. This is not to say that they are always a bad idea – as long as the hydrology works. Basement apartments on hilltops should be fine. In low-lying areas like Area 4, the Agassiz neighborhood, or much of Cambridgeport or Riverside, or on streets that become watercourses during heavy rains, it seems like a dreadful idea. Whether or not the properties that are the subject of this petition are appropriate for packing in more cash-producing units is a question best left to the engineers. The bigger issue here is the role of mammoth campaign contributions in the approval of this or any other zoning petition.

The letter from Heather Hoffman on this is interesting. The Chestnut Hill Realty petition has been accompanied by mendacity from its inception. It was first billed as "workforce housing" as if to suggest that kitchen workers and housekeepers might be the principal residents of the new units. The re-filed petition asserts that "reasonably priced, affordable studio and one bedroom units" is the basis for their wish for permitting greater density. Ms. Hoffman’s letter calls their bluff by proposing an amendment:

20.650 Affordability. The addition of dwelling units under Section 20.600 shall not result in an increase in the number of market-rate units in the building. A number of units equal to the number of new dwelling units shall become affordable units and comply with all of the affordability, distribution and unit type requirements of Section 11.200. However, only the unit types of the new dwelling units need be considered for this purpose.

Considering past public statements (on the record) by some councillors regarding locating "affordable units" in some of the more high-rent areas of the city, coupled with the fact that said councillors have received significant funds from the petitioners, it should be interesting to hear the ensuing discussion should Ms. Hoffman’s suggested amendment be introduced. Ahh… the sweet smell of mendacity!

Order #2. That all items pending before the City Council and not acted upon by the end of the 2010-2011 Legislative Session be placed in the files of the City Clerk, without prejudice provided that those proposed ordinances which have been passed to a second reading, advertised and listed on the Calendar under "Unfinished Business" during the 2010-2011 City Council term, along with any other pending matters on the Calendar listed as "Unfinished Business," shall be forwarded to the next City Council and further provided that any items pending in committee may, at the discretion of the committee, be forwarded to the next City Council.   Mayor Maher

This is standard procedure at the end of every Council term. Individual councillors can forward items to the new term only in their roles as committee Chairs and members, though the truth is that most Council committees have become primarily one-person affairs where the Chair determines virtually every action undertaken by the committee.

7:00pm   Special Presentation – Mayor’s Red Ribbon Commission on Central Square.  (Sullivan Chamber)

It is perhaps true that every initiative like this one will produce some good results. However, the proliferation of studies and committees on Central Square has been so common that one might suggest that there be created an "Office of Central Square Studies" to house all the reports. The process leading up to this report has not exactly been an open public process, though no one who showed up was ever turned away. From the beginning there were presentations of very specific proposals for the Naggar property at Norfolk St. and Mass. Ave. that seem very much to be the fulfillment of something listed on the Mayor’s Office website during the 2006-2007 term and in the "Office of the Mayor" section of both the FY2007 ("An initiative envisioning a new square in Central Square") and FY2008 ("Envision a new square in Central Square") Budget Books. Will this be the centerpiece of this latest report? – Robert Winters

December 5, 2011

Winding Down – Dec 5, 2011 Cambridge City Council Meeting

Filed under: campaign finance,City Council,East Cambridge,planning — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 11:27 am

Winding Down – Dec 5, 2011 Cambridge City Council Meeting

This is the home stretch of the 2010-2011 City Council term – a time to finish up tasks and jockey for position in the never-pleasant business of choosing the next mayor. Here are a few notable items on the agenda:

5:30pm   Special Presentation by the Oral History Project of the Longfellow Neighborhood Council to receive their new publication "From the Heart of Cambridge".

The idea for this book was conceived in 2004 by Penelope Kleespies and the Longfellow Neighborhood Council and Community School. The book was edited by Paula Lovejoy with the assistance of a constellation of others including Sarah Boyer of the Cambridge Historical Commission who has edited numerous other Cambridge oral history projects. The book tells the stories of 90 Mid-Cambridge people and their families and friends. It is available for sale at Porter Square Books, the Harvard Book Store, The Coop, Rodney’s Bookstore, and directly from the Longfellow Neighborhood Council. All profits go to support the Longfellow Neighborhood Council and Community School.

City Manager’s Agenda #1. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to a Home Rule Petition providing the City of Cambridge with the authority to impose and increase certain motor vehicle fines in the City of Cambridge in order to improve driving.

Time will tell whether the increased fines actually improve driving in a world where texting and other distractions routinely focus the brains of drivers on everything other than their surroundings. This is just the text for a Home Rule Petition to the state legislature to allow the increased penalties. It does not yet raise any of these fines.

City Manager’s Agenda #5. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to language prepared by staff in anticipation of the process of reconstruction or renovation of K-8 school buildings in City.

As near as I can tell, this proposed zoning change is primarily intended to ensure that once an existing school building or part of a school building is demolished, any new building may be built to the same height and density. The proposed regulation would, however, allow the Planning Board, by Special Permit, to waive any dimensional or other zoning requirements as long as the Floor/Area Ratio (FAR) does not exceed 1.25 and the height does not exceed 55 feet, plus several other restrictions. It is expected that a number of school buildings will be reconstructed over the next decade most likely starting with the King School on Putnam Ave. The plan is to use the old Longfellow School as "swing space" for each school during reconstruction.

City Manager’s Agenda #6. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 11-170, regarding a report on an opinion on the issue of spot zoning on the Runkel petition.

Unfinished Business #10. A communication was received from D. Margaret Drury, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Sam Seidel, Chair of the Ordinance Committee for a public meeting held on Oct 13, 2011 to consider a petition filed by Laura Runkel et al. to rezone 41 Bellis Circle, an area abutting the northern block of Bellis Circle, bordered on the north by the commuter rail tracks, on the south by Bellis Circle and on the east side by Sherman Street, from Residence C-1A to Residence C. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Nov 14, 2011. Planning Board hearing held Sept 13, 2011. Petition expires Dec 13, 2011.

These two related items concern the Runkel et al. Zoning Petition that would affect a single large parcel at Sherman St. and the RR tracks. The Planning Board report did not recommend approval of the petition arguing that it "does not find it appropriate to consider only this single site for potential rezoning when there are adjacent sites that remain zoned Residence C-1A". The possibility that this might be "spot zoning" or "reverse spot zoning" was discussed at the Nov 21 City Council meeting and an Order was passed asking for a legal opinion on the matter. City Solicitor Don Drisdell’s report indicates that it is unlikely that a court would rule against this proposed zoning change.

Unfinished Business #11. A communication was received from D. Margaret Drury, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Sam Seidel, Chair of the Ordinance Committee for a public hearing held on Sept 14, 2011 and a follow-up public meeting on Oct 25, 2011 to consider a re-filed petition to amend the zoning ordinance filed by Chestnut Hill Realty. The petition would allow creation by special permit of rental apartment units in basement units of existing multifamily residential buildings in Residence C Districts which meet the special permit criteria. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Nov 28, 2011. Planning Board hearing held Sept 6, 2011. Petition expires Dec 13, 2011.

As has been stated here before, this is The Petition That Will Not Die – twice disapproved by the Planning Board with numerous questions raised by the City Engineer. The fact that the petitioners, Chestnut Hill Realty, have contributed mightily to the campaign accounts of several city councillors raises questions of conflict of interest and whether zoning relief can be purchased via campaign contributions. This perception, of course, is not limited to this petition. In fact, the scale of political contributions by parties with business before the City Council has skyrocketed in recent years.

It may be time for the Cambridge City Council to consider an Ordinance prohibiting campaign contributions by any party with business before the City Council (or the representatives of any such party) for a period of one or two years before and after the matter is voted by the City Council. In these days of Citizens United, it is unclear what such limits may legally be imposed, but it would be a welcome initiative by any city councillor willing to propose such an ordinance.

Unfinished Business #12. A communication was received from D. Margaret Drury, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Sam Seidel, Chair of the Ordinance Committee for a public hearing held on Sept 14, 2011 to consider a petition by Matthew Bagedonow et al. to amend Section 5.24.4 Paragraph(4) of the Zoning Ordinance as follows: "For Residence Zoning District C-1, in no case shall side yards be less than 7′-6". This shall apply to any plane or projection from the plane of the building." The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Nov 28, 2011. Planning Board hearing held Sept 13, 2011. Petition expires Dec 13, 2011.

The Bagedonow et al. petition received a positive report from the Planning Board with a minor revision. This will likely be ordained as amended.

Resolution #10. Resolution on the death of Paul Kurt Ackermann.   Vice Mayor Davis, Mayor Maher

Paul Ackermann was the husband of former City Councillor and former Mayor Barbara Ackermann. Paul was 92 years old.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to provide monetary information regarding the Monteiro and related cases.   Councillor Reeves, Councillor Cheung, Councillor Seidel and Councillor Simmons

Though I agree in principle that a general idea of the scale of these settlements should be made public, the politicizing of this matter remains disturbing. Having witnessed the same people celebrating the financial hit taken by the City and then bemoaning its effect of taxpayers makes one wonder about the motivations of these citizen activists.

Order #5. That the City Clerk is requested to list mayoral commission meetings on the City Council Hearing Schedule in addition to the City Calendar in order to reach as many interested members of the public as possible.   Vice Mayor Davis

It seems odd that there should even have to be a City Council Order asking that these public meetings be included in the City Calendar. Unfortunately, the truth is that none of the "Red Ribbon" meetings on Central Square over the last year or so were ever advertised. Though no one who showed up was ever turned away, the meetings were by invitation only and this calls into question whether the whole enterprise may be properly characterized as a public process. The same criticism applies to the "Silver Ribbon" commission on housing options for older people, and the "Blue Ribbon" commission on early childhood education.

Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Community Development Department to ascertain data previously requested regarding the Andrews Petition.   Councillor Cheung

The Andrews et al. Petition received a negative report from the Planning Board. The proposal would have amended the City’s Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance to eliminate the density bonus that forms the economic basis of the ordinance.

Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Personnel Department to look into the disability makeup of the City’s workforce by level and department and report back to the City Council on this matter.   Councillor Cheung

This Order comes in the wake of a previous Order and report on the racial/ethnic composition of City employees. While almost everyone agrees that nondiscrimination should be the general rule for City employment, these Orders do suggest that employment quotas for various racial/ethnic/gender/disability criteria may still be the mindset of some elected officials.

Order #11. That this City Council urge the United States Government to sign and ratify the 1990 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families and to similarly recognize Dec 18, 2011, and annually thereafter, as International Migrants Day.   Councillor Decker

The following Wikipedia excerpts may be relevant: "So far, countries that have ratified the Convention are primarily countries of origin of migrants (such as Mexico, Morocco and the Philippines). For these countries, the Convention is an important vehicle to protect their citizens living abroad."… "No migrant-receiving State in Western Europe or North America has ratified the Convention. Other important receiving countries, such as Australia, Arab states of the Persian Gulf, India and South Africa have not ratified the Convention either." [Full text of the convention]

Cambridge just wouldn’t be Cambridge without the occasional excursion into foreign affairs.

Order #12. That the City Manager report back to the City Council with the required changes to city council rules, city zoning code and/or municipal ordinance to achieve the Community Benefits Mitigation Fee.   Councillor Seidel

This Order is the culmination of a process that has been going on for the past year having to do with extracting "community benefits" in exchange for granting significant upzoning to developers. While it would be hard to find anyone opposed to financial benefits (in addition to new real estate taxes) growing out of new development, there remains a significant question regarding whether this may amount to a de facto "upzoning for sale" situation. Would a City Council ever vote against a major development if it meant turning down millions of dollars for nonprofit agencies, affordable housing ,etc.?

Messages circulated over the weekend by members of the East Cambridge Planning Team point out another problematic aspect of the proposed "Community Benefits Mitigation Fee" structure. Specifically: "The successful negotiation with Alexandria whereby the City and East Cambridge will receive: a 2.5 acre park; a triangle park; $9.5 million to design and build the parks; an approximately 30,000 square foot building, and up to $6,000,000 for the East Cambridge Open Space Fund, would not be possible under the approach contained in this Order as the 1.7 million square foot project would have been limited to a total of $17 million in community benefits. So we have an Order covering mitigation potentially implementing a process whereby a very successful mitigation effort, Alexandria, could not be achieved under the Order’s proposed methodology."

Charles Marquardt’s estimates are that the total mitigation value received from the Alexandria zoning relief was $43 million; and that under the proposal the value would have been only $17.5 million. That’s a difference of $25.5 million. Of course, there’s nothing in the proposal that says that Alexandria could not have voluntarily contributed the difference, but this seems an unlikely outcome if the financial arrangements were so explicitly codified in advance of granting the zoning relief. – Robert Winters

January 10, 2011

Looking Ahead to the 2011 Cambridge City Council Election

Filed under: 2011 Election,campaign finance,City Council — Tags: — Robert Winters @ 9:00 am

Though it may be the time for Seasons Greetings for most of us, for local City Council candidates this is also the time for planning the campaign for the November 2011 election. Though the landscape will likely change somewhat between now and then, it’s interesting to look at the money raised and spent by the incumbent councillors and by those expected to run in November 2011. Here are the most recent figures.

City Council Campaign Finance (2009-2010) - updated Feb 18, 2012
CandidateOpenReceipts (2009-10)Expend. (2009-10)BalanceDate#1 Votes$/VoteNotes
Adkins, Lawrence$34.93$495.00$199.80$330.1312/31/2010103$1.94
Cheung, Leland$0.00$21757.50$13675.87$8061.6312/31/2010756$11.48$5000 repaid loan subtracted
Davis, Henrietta$11185.16$57901.70$66267.88$2818.9812/31/20101858$35.67
Decker, Marjorie$1867.27$101624.90$101716.40$1775.7712/31/20101285$79.16includes money related to State Senate campaign
Flanagan, Mark$0.00$140.35$140.35$0.0012/31/2010112$1.25
Glick, Silvia$0.00$12466.22$12424.01$42.2112/31/2010256$48.53
Kelley, Craig$6465.86$12620.92$9321.41$9765.3712/31/20101250$7.46
Leavitt, Neal$0.00$5856.17$5439.21$416.9612/31/2010136$39.99
Maher, David$12827.62$58636.50$53595.34$17868.7812/31/20101286$41.68
Marquardt, Charles J.$0.00$34909.40$31449.90$3459.5012/31/2010385$81.69
Nelson, Matthew P.$0.00$2255.00$90.50$2164.5012/31/2010--Filed papers for candidate account (Dec 2010)
Podgers, Kathy$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.0012/31/201078$0.00no records
Reeves, Ken$6401.11$65906.34$67526.48$4780.9712/31/20101166$57.91
Seidel, Sam$775.16$27934.02$26701.73$2007.4512/31/2010900$29.67
Simmons, Denise$8689.90$117709.78$120780.40$5619.2812/31/20101785$67.66includes money related to State Senate campaign
Stohlman, Tom$0.00$5525.00$2790.76$2734.24 12/31/2010378$7.38
Sullivan, Edward$3950.24$25100.00$28420.48$629.7612/31/2010885$32.11
Toomey, Tim$34043.27$68070.73$97092.27$5021.7312/31/20101748$55.54includes money related to State Rep. campaign
vanBeuzekom, Minka$0.00$22097.64$19218.64$2879.0012/31/2010682$28.18
Ward, Larry$132.86$16933.34$16817.73$248.4712/31/2010736$22.85
Williamson, James$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.0012/31/201090$0.00

Click on the field names to sort in ascending order and again to sort in descending order.

As always, you can look this up yourself at the website of the Office of Campaign & Political Finance (OCPF).

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