Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

August 1, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 245-246: Aug 1, 2017

Episode 245 – Cambridge InsideOut: Aug 1, 2017 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Aug 1, 2017 at 5:30pm. The main topic was the final list of candidates for the 2017 municipal election. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]


Episode 246 – Cambridge InsideOut: Aug 1, 2017 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Aug 1, 2017 at 6:00pm. Main topic: campaign finance, MIT/Volpe Petition. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

[Materials used in these episodes]

Statement from Councillor Cheung on his decision to not seek reelection

Filed under: Cambridge,elections — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 9:05 am

Friends,

When I first ran for City Council 8 years ago, I did not think that I would actually win. I felt compelled by a faith in community service that my parents instilled in me; a love for the city my father first called home when he immigrated to America; and a vague notion that somehow my unique ideas and perspective would, when added to those already there, make the Council even better. Winning was a surprise, but I was humbled by the opportunity, and honored by the trust voters had placed in me.Leland Cheung

I came to office determined to make the most of that opportunity; to affect as much good as I possibly could in the time I was given. Determined to earn the trust given to me by making things better tomorrow than I’d found them yesterday, I tried to make the most of every day because I never thought it would last forever.

After much reflection, I’ve decided that I will not seek re-election to the City Council. These past 8 years of public service have been exciting, productive, and professionally rewarding but also demanding. Doing the job, the way I aspire to do it, is an all-consuming affair. Elected office demands more than just 40 hours a week. More than 80. It keeps you constantly on call. It demands your nights and weekends. Nowadays however, my nights and weekends belong to my wife, my 3 year old daughter Lela Marie, and my 3 month old son Alexander Alpha. Quite frankly, I cannot be wholly present at a community meeting if all I’m thinking about is going home to play on the rug. Life is short and I want to spend these next few years devoting my free time to my kids.

While reflecting on this decision I took some time to look back over all the flyers and mailings I’d sent out ever since my first campaign. I’m proud that almost all those promises have been fulfilled. We have innovation legislation that formalizes open data, sets aside affordable office space for entrepreneurs, and a city bureaucracy that’s embracing technology. Cambridge is the most climate-conscious city in the world, with building regulations headed towards net-zero, power aggregation that’s shifting the entire city towards renewables, and investments in transportation infrastructure. We’ve emerged from the national housing crisis with a focus on affordability, and a blueprint for incentivizing developers to focus on residents, not profits. We introduced participatory budgeting, mini-bonds, and curbside composting. We have a great new City Manager, focused on customer service, who was selected through a transparent and inclusive process. We’re investing in education, family housing, and helping residents build a better future for themselves and their families.

I’m known for promoting a forward-looking vision for the city, from innovation to entrepreneurship, but my most impactful moments were when I broke from peoples’ expectations of me as the kid from MIT. Bringing millennials to understand the perspectives of life-long residents on everything from taxes to bicycles; championing home grown candidates – Rich Rossi and Louie Depasquale – for City Manager; focusing on the basics like fire and police. The underlying theme is that every move I’ve made has been towards a singular goal – making tomorrow better than yesterday; aan everything I’ve done has been in collaboration with others – residents, activists, colleagues, and city employees – and with an understanding that any policy is only as strong as the front-line employees delivering the service.

The temptation to remain in public office is that there is always more work to be done. I won’t stop moving issues forwards until my term is over. However, I rest assured that the future of Cambridge is bright. We have the policies, practices, and personnel to tackle whatever is next. We have the best employees of any city in the country. Between the incumbents running for re-election and the new candidates, we’ll have the institutional memory to safeguard what’s great about Cambridge and the new ideas necessary to challenge assumptions and make things even better.

So I humbly return to you the trust that you held in me. It’s time for me to focus on my growing family and opportunities in the private sector. I’m forever thankful that despite the national drama, I’ll leave the City Council with a deepened faith in American Democracy and as living proof that the dream is alive and well. And for that I am grateful.

Thank you,
Leland

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