Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

February 9, 2020

Cambridge School Committee 2019 campaign finance reports (and $/vote)

The totals from the 2019 campaign finance reports for Cambridge School Committee candidates are provided in the table below. This table will be updated when the remaining candidates file their year-end reports (which were due Jan 20, 2020).
The table can be sorted by clicking on any field – once for increasing order and again for decreasing order.

CandidateFromToStartReceiptsExpendBalanceLiabilities #1 Votes$/Vote
Allen, Ruth Ryan8/9/1910/18/19$0.00$9,397.00$3,264.85$6,132.15$1,078.92year end report missing892$3.66
Bowman, Mannika1/1/1910/25/19$3,145.07$11,892.00$11,469.80$3,567.27$0.00year end report missing3107$3.69
Dawson, Bernette6/11/1912/31/19$0.00$4,793.00$4,121.82$671.18$0.00complete977$4.22
Dexter, Emily1/1/1912/31/19$0.00$3,710.01$3,710.01$0.00$6,350.54complete3003$1.24
Fantini, Fred1/1/1912/31/19$4,184.01$9,540.00$8,682.78$5,041.23$14,695.99complete2660$3.26
Kadete, Elechi1/1/1910/28/19$51.40$3,038.62$1,547.60$1,542.42$0.00year end report missing815$1.90
Lim, Christopher1/1/1910/18/19$0.00$3,025.00$2,883.57$141.43$0.00year end report missing934$3.09
Rojas Villarreal, Jose Luis1/1/1912/31/19$0.00$1,584.99$1,068.18$516.81$0.00complete1133$0.94
Weinstein, David1/1/1912/31/19$510.77$13,056.18$9,476.18$4,090.77$15,707.99complete974$9.73
Weinstein, Rachel11/8/1712/31/19$0.00$32,438.07$26,646.39$5,791.68$5,232.63complete2178$12.23
Wilson, Ayesha11/8/1712/31/19$0.00$13,135.00$11,045.64$2,089.36$400.00complete2689$4.11

February 7, 2020

2019 Cambridge City Council Campaign Bank Reports (and $/Vote) – FINAL

The following table shows the summary bank reports (Feb 2018 through Jan 2020) for 2019 Cambridge City Council candidates and active local political action committees involved in the 2019 municipal election. These reports were updated at the middle and at the end of every month. You can sort by any of the fields shown by clicking on the field name – one click ascending and second click descending. #1 Votes and $/Vote fields were added after the election and will now be updated only if significant new bills are paid. The table is now closed with all reports through Jan 31, 2020 recorded. There will be no further updates for this campaign cycle other than corrections (which are not likely).

CandidateFromToStartReceiptsExpendBalanceAs Of#1 Votes$/VoteNotes
PAC - ABC05/16/1801/31/200.0021436.4119384.532051.8802/03/20--A Better Cambridge
PAC - CCC10/01/1901/31/200.0017891.2312748.415142.8202/05/20--Cambridge Citizens Coalition, $300 refund deducted
PAC - CResA07/15/1901/31/200.003166.772710.61456.1602/03/20--Cambridge Residents Alliance
PAC - Cambr. Bike Safety07/15/1907/15/ Bike Safety
PAC - Our Revolution Cambridge10/01/1901/31/200.001427.001367.0060.0002/03/20--filed 10/9/19 w/OCPF
Akiba, Sukia07/16/1901/31/200.003450.032820.03630.0002/04/20362 $7.79
Azeem, Burhan05/01/1901/31/200.0013914.0513860.3753.6802/04/20961 $14.42$550 candidate loan deducted
Carlone, Dennis02/01/1801/31/2010088.5833141.6335999.177231.0402/03/201479 $24.34
Franklin, Charles03/05/1901/31/200.0033326.6031624.441702.1602/03/20323 $97.91new candidate, Mar 5
Kelley, Craig02/01/1801/31/204951.6539413.2030665.7013699.1502/03/201422 $21.57
Kopon, Derek07/01/1901/31/200.009716.729716.720.0001/11/20493 $19.71no longer raising/spending funds
Levy, Ilan02/01/1801/31/20-44.32650.51551.4154.7802/03/20110 $5.01
Mallon, Alanna02/01/1801/31/205380.4541744.7642180.484944.7302/05/201256 $33.58refund deducted
McGovern, Marc02/01/1801/31/206376.17105310.08100330.2311356.0202/05/201621 $61.89$600 refund deducted
McNary, Jeffery08/02/1901/31/ $0.00will not raise/expend funds
Mednick, Risa07/16/1901/31/200.0019618.9916171.283447.7102/03/20244 $66.28new candidate, July 15
Moree, Gregg08/01/1912/31/190.001500.001500.000.0001/03/2047 $31.91ceased reporting
Musgrave, Adriane02/01/1801/31/20474.6741091.1936864.404701.4602/05/20726 $50.78
Nolan, Patty07/01/1901/31/200.0023587.0216731.696855.3302/03/201685 $9.93new candidate, June 11
Pitkin, John06/16/1901/31/200.0014304.6813396.95907.7302/03/20536 $24.99new candidate, July 17
Siddiqui, Sumbul02/01/1801/31/209334.0533624.2827639.3415318.9902/03/202516 $10.99
Simmons, Denise02/01/1801/31/207595.5063834.3362767.508662.3302/03/202007 $31.27
Simon, Ben03/16/1901/31/200.0012456.3711275.411180.9602/03/20294 $38.35new candidate, Apr 2
Sobrinho-Wheeler, Jivan03/11/1901/31/200.0027478.1325660.241817.8902/03/201321 $19.42new candidate, Mar 11
Toomey, Tim02/01/1801/31/205509.5263797.5357780.8611526.1902/03/201729 $33.42$24514.97 loan repayments deducted
Williams, Nicola A.03/12/1901/31/200.0031569.2231307.01262.2102/03/20631 $49.61new candidate, Mar 12
Zondervan, Quinton02/01/1801/31/201279.6647100.1548123.32256.4902/03/201382 $34.82
Summaries of potential 2019 City Council campaign bank reports. Adjustments to the totals have been made to reflect returned donations and other factors. [updated Feb 7, 2020 at 9:55pm]

Campaign Finance Reports – 2019 City Council (updated Feb 7, 9:55pm)


February 3, 2020

Follow the Money – Cambridge City Council Campaign Receipts 2019

Why do labor unions pour so much money into City Council campaign coffers?

Money![Originally posted Aug 15, updated periodically] – One thing I have always found puzzling is the amount of money donated to the campaign accounts of incumbent city councillors. I suppose this could be interpreted as financial support for those who have supported unions in their noble quest for better wages, benefits, and working conditions, but the fact is that all incumbents and challengers appear to share this sentiment. So perhaps it’s something different. There is a longstanding pattern of labor representatives being recruited by some of the larger real estate developers to speak in favor of new development – supposedly because of the jobs involved, but that always struck me as too simplistic. Many of the people who control the funds of these political action committees are, to say the least, politically connected.

There’s also the matter of political contributions from people tied to real estate development. This is always difficult to evaluate because of the simple fact that it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to determine motive. There are people who have been generous charitable contributors for ages who also happen to own and/or develop Cambridge real estate. Are their contributions related to their real estate interests or not?

Of course, there’s also the matter of whether or not contributions come from Cambridge residents. It’s not always easy to draw conclusions from this – primarily because some candidates have family and friends scattered across the rest of the state and the country.

Here’s a revised account of the (a) Cambridge contributions, (b) union contributions, (c) real estate contributions (as best as I could discern), and (d) total of union and real estate money contributed over this election cycle starting from Feb 1, 2018 through the latest data available for all City Council candidates (notes: – receipts include loans from candidates to their campaigns; refunds deducted if clearly a refund):

Table of reported City Council campaign receipts (Feb 1, 2018 - present) - Total, Cambridge, Unions, Real Estate - updated Feb 3, 6:45pm
Candidate (and PACs)ReceiptsCambridgePctunionsPctReal EstatePctunions+REPct
Total $716,855.47 $453,991.9463.3% $45,250.006.3% $70,851.009.9% $116,101.0016.2%
McGovern, Marc C. $107,006.21 $46,638.0043.6% $12,550.0011.7% $30,200.0028.2% $42,750.0040.0%
Simmons, E. Denise $64,111.19 $31,466.1949.1% $6,250.009.7% $20,600.0032.1% $26,850.0041.9%
Toomey, Timothy J., Jr. $63,112.80 $33,325.1452.8% $5,100.008.1% $13,350.0021.2% $18,450.0029.2%
Mallon, Alanna $42,475.25 $28,537.2567.2% $6,450.0015.2% $1,900.004.5% $8,350.0019.7%
Siddiqui, Sumbul $33,654.68 $19,871.6859.0% $5,250.0015.6% $350.001.0% $5,600.0016.6%
Musgrave, Adriane $42,278.35 $20,919.3549.5% $4,200.009.9% $600.001.4% $4,800.0011.4%
Kelley, Craig A. $40,385.00 $32,378.0080.2% $2,500.006.2% $1,650.004.1% $4,150.0010.3%
ABC - PAC $24,299.26 $20,247.2383.3% $ -0.0% $1,866.007.7% $1,866.007.7%
Sobrinho-Wheeler, Jivan $28,430.00 $18,710.4265.8% $1,500.005.3% $ - 0.0% $1,500.005.3%
Carlone, Dennis $33,648.00 $27,098.0080.5% $500.001.5% $250.000.7% $750.002.2%
Mednick, Risa $19,541.00 $13,908.0071.2% $500.002.6% $ - 0.0% $500.002.6%
Azeem, Burhan $14,724.35 $11,969.3581.3% $450.003.1% $35.000.2% $485.003.3%
Williams, Nicola A. $31,501.78 $24,251.5277.0% $ -0.0% $50.000.2% $50.000.2%
Akiba, Sukia $3,000.00 $980.0032.7% $ -0.0% $ -0.0% $ -0.0%
BikeSafety-PAC $3,480.00 $2,155.0061.9% $ -0.0% $ -0.0% $ -0.0%
CCC - PAC $19,130.00 $18,250.0095.4% $ -0.0% $ -0.0% $ -0.0%
CResA - PAC $3,173.08 $3,005.0094.7% $ -0.0% $ -0.0% $ -0.0%
Franklin, Charles $34,392.78 $22,639.7865.8% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
Kopon, Derek Andrew $8,873.16 $7,295.0182.2% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
Levy, Ilan S. $650.00 $550.0084.6% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
McNary, Jeffery $ - $ - - $ -- $ - - $ - -
Moree, Gregg J. $1,500.00 $1,500.00100.0% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
Nolan, Patricia M. $21,961.23 $13,555.0061.7% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
ORC - PAC $1,992.00 $1,892.0095.0% $ -0.0% $ -0.0% $ -0.0%
Pitkin, John $14,335.00 $12,172.0084.9% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
Simon, Ben $12,863.56 $7,118.2355.3% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
Zondervan, Quinton $46,336.23 $33,559.2372.4% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%

Source: Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF)

ABC-PAC: “A Better Cambridge Political Action Committee”
BikeSafety-PAC: “Cambridge Bicycle Safety Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee”
CCC-PAC: “Cambridge Citizens Coalition Political Action Committee”
CResA-PAC: “Democracy for Cambridge Political Action Committee” – Cambridge Residents Alliance
ORC-PAC: “Our Revolution Cambridge Political Action Committee”

January 16, 2020

2020 School Committee Vacancy Recount – David J. Weinstein elected

Filed under: 2019 election,elections — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 9:55 pm

David WeinsteinJan 16, 2020 – As expected, David Weinstein was elected at the Jan 16 Vacancy Recount to the Cambridge School Committee seat vacated by Emily Dexter (who was elected in the November 2019 municipal election but decided not to serve the term to which she was elected).

Dexter Vacancy Recount (Jan 16, 2020) – David Weinstein elected

2020 School Committee Vacancy Recount

City SealJan 9, 2020 – A vacancy has been created in the School Committee due to the decision of Emily Dexter to not serve as a member of the School Committee for the term beginning January 6, 2020. Pursuant to the Cambridge Charter and Massachusetts General Law Chapter 54A, the Cambridge Election Commission will hold a Vacancy Recount to fill the seat.

This “Vacancy Recount” of Emily Dexter’s ballots will be held on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 5:30pm in the Election Commission office, 51 Inman Street (1st Floor), Cambridge, Mass. Tanya L. Ford-Crump, the Election Commission Executive Director, has been designated as the Director of the Count for this purpose.

Eligible candidates will be invited to attend and are entitled to appoint two witnesses and two alternative witnesses provided that written notice of the names and addresses of the appointees signed by such candidate is filed with the Election Commission no later than 24 hours before this Vacancy Recount.

January 5, 2020

The Eve of Inauguration

Filed under: 2019 election,Cambridge,School Committee — Tags: , , , , , — Robert Winters @ 11:02 pm

The Eve of Inauguration

City HallSun, Jan 5 – It’s the Eve of Inauguration of the 2020-21 City Council (10:00am start, City Hall) and School Committee (6:00pm start, Cambridge Public Library, Lecture Hall, 449 Broadway). Upon inauguration of the City Council, they will proceed directly to the Election of the Mayor (and then the Vice Chair should a Mayor actually be elected). There has been the usual chatter among residents (as well as some posturing of incumbents meant to suggest who might have disproportionate influence in the process) but other than the logic of those with high vote totals deserving an advantage in the selection, I have no specific information on how the vote will go. Often the person who is seen as delivering the decisive vote is rewarded by being elected Vice Mayor or getting choice committee assignments. I have attended these inaugurations every two years for a very long time and have generally found the mayoral maneuvering to be interesting, especially in trying to decipher which favors are granted to whom in exchange for votes. It would so much more interesting if there were actual horses being traded.

Whoever does end up with the five votes to become Mayor will then have the distinct privilege of becoming the 7th voting member and Chair of the School Committee. If the tone and focus of the upcoming School Committee is even remotely similar to the outgoing one, a prison sentence might be preferable to being Mayor. Perhaps with mostly new members things will be different. A Mayor who is capable of resolving differences rather than exacerbating them will help. Time will tell.

One City Council Committee appointment (by whomever ends up as Mayor) will be Chair of the Government Operations, Rules, and Claims Committee. We are now entering the final year of the contract with City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. The process of deciding whether to extend that contract or to seek a new City Manager has traditionally been shepherded by the Chair of Government Operations, though any route to five votes would be completely consistent with the Plan E Charter under which the Manager "shall hold office during the pleasure of the city council". As to the timing, the current contract states: "If the City intends to continue Mr. DePasquale’s employment beyond January 8, 2021, it shall give written notice to Mr. DePasquale on or before September 14, 2020, and initiate negotiations for a successor employment contract, which contract, if agreed to, shall become effective January 9, 2021. Absent agreement on a successor employment contract, this Agreement shall terminate on January 8, 2021." – Robert Winters

PS – At this time it appears to still be the case that Emily Dexter may not accept her election to the School Committee. If this does prove to be the case, her replacement will be officially determined later this month. I sincerely hope that this situation is somehow reversed, that the will of the voters is respected, and that a "teachable moment" is somehow recovered. There is an opportunity here for a new Mayor to actually show real leadership. Or not. – RW

City Councillors-Elect: Dennis Carlone, Alanna Mallon, Marc McGovern, Patty Nolan, Sumbul Siddiqui, Denise Simmons, Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, Tim Toomey, Quinton Zondervan

School Committee Members-Elect: Mannika Bowman, Emily Dexter, Alfred Fantini, Jose Luis Rojas Villarreal, Rachel Weinstein, Ayesha Wilson

December 17, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 441-442: December 17, 2019

Episode 441 – Cambridge InsideOut: Dec 17, 2019 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Dec 17, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: On Elections & Vacancies; The Departure of Councillors Craig Kelley & Jan Devereux; Karp Petition and East Cambridge development, Contract Zoning a.k.a. “Let’s Make A Deal”; Mall Tales and Mini-Retail. Hosts: Patrick Barrett, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

Episode 442 – Cambridge InsideOut: Dec 17, 2019 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Dec 17, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: Harvard Square Zoning Petition – how zoning might help retail.; Form-Based Zoning – Citywide Somerville Rezoning; Finding the “Sweet Spot” in zoning density. Hosts: Patrick Barrett, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

December 4, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 437-438: December 3, 2019

Episode 437 – Cambridge InsideOut: Dec 3, 2019 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Dec 3, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: Analysis of voters by age, turnout, possible causes; cost of a campaign, effectiveness. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

Episode 438 – Cambridge InsideOut: Dec 3, 2019 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Dec 3, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: Karp Petition ordination pending; Universal Pre-K, Tobin School renovation/relocation; participatory budgeting. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

November 28, 2019

Demographic Mixed Bag – November 2019 Cambridge municipal election

Filed under: 2019 election,elections — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 10:59 pm

Demographic Mixed Bag – November 2019 Cambridge municipal election

I have been curious since the recent election whether there were any patterns in voter turnout that might be discerned when the information about who voted became available. That data became available recently and it’s kind of a mixed bag. There are still a lot more younger voters than there were before 2017, but not as many as in 2017. There was a modest increase in the youngest range (up to about age 26 – credit for that probably goes to the supporters of Burhan Azeem and Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler), but the numbers actually disproportionately dropped for most age ranges from about 27 through the middle age years. Interestingly, the number of voters increased for those in the 70-80 range. We can all speculate about why those numbers would be up when overall turnout was down.

Overall the number of registered voters increased from 66,354 in 2017 to 68,839 in 2019 (including those with listed birthdates) – a 3.7% increase. The number of people who actually voted decreased 4.8% from 22,407 to 21,329. Voter turnout in 2017 was 33.8% of all registered voters. That dropped to 31.0% in 2019, but that’s still relatively high for a municipal election (it was 28.2% in 2015 and 25.2% in 2013).

Here are some graphics to illustrate this, starting with the distribution of voters by age (in 3-year intervals, 18-20, 21-23, etc.) in the Nov 2019 election.

Voted 2019

Compare this to the 2017 distribution – especially the peak at 27-29:

Voted 2017

Notice that in 2015 there were far fewer people in their 20s and 30s voting with a clear dominance in the 65-70 range.

Voted 2015

When we look at 2017 and 2019 side-by-side you can more easily how some age ranges saw significant decreases (more than the ~5% overall drop) and other age ranges actually saw increases.

Voted 2017 vs. 2019

Here’s an annotated graph highlighting some of the more interesting changes.

Voted 2017 vs. 2019 - highlighted

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