Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

August 16, 2013

Suggested Topics for 2013 Cambridge City Council Candidates

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,City Council,elections — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 10:44 pm

Suggested topics for 2013 City Council candidates

1) Background [biographical, etc.]

2) Top Priorities [List about three and elaborate below]

3) Land Use, Planning, Zoning, Density

4) Economic Development and Commerce

5) Housing

6) Energy, the Environment, and Public Health

7) Traffic, Parking, and Transportation

8) Open Space, Parks, and Recreation

9) Municipal Finance (budget, assessments, property taxes, etc.)

10) Quality of Life and Public Safety

Other topics:
Civic Participation
Government and Elections, Plan E Charter
City Manager
University Relations
Youth Programs, Senior Programs
Arts and Public Celebrations
Cambridge Public Schools
Future of the Foundry Building

Priority Question: What is your vision for Central Square over the next decade?

Candidates: Send your responses/remarks on these topics or any other topics of your choice to — or by mail to 366 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139. All of the information provided is helpful to voters, journalists, and organizers of candidate forums and similar events. You can add more information or change the content of your Candidate Page any time up to Election Day.

Cambridge Candidate Pages – 2013

2013 Campaign Event Listings and Candidate Forums
[Send event listings to —]


  1. While I do agree with the topics at hand, I do not like the priority question. I know Central is going to be an important issue, but it’s not the “end all, be all”. Maybe if we asked what their vision for the city, as a whole, is for the next decade….

    Just my $.02

    Comment by Joseph Aiello — August 16, 2013 @ 10:48 pm

  2. I agree in principle that a candidate statement about their vision for the whole city is preferred, but I believe there’s plenty of room to do that under topic #3: Land Use, Planning, Zoning, Density.

    In past years I have never posed overly specific questions to candidates because I prefer to give candidates maximum freedom to express themselves as they wish. The only reason I’m being more specific regarding Central Square is that it will be a big question over the next few years and so many candidates have been evasive about how they feel about adding additional housing in the Central Square area and how this might best be achieved.

    Comment by Robert Winters — August 16, 2013 @ 10:58 pm

  3. Okay, that I can agree with.

    Comment by Joseph Aiello — August 16, 2013 @ 11:13 pm

  4. Robert,

    Like the topics and the specific question about Central Square which is, in my opinion, at an inflection point and the decisions made in the next few years will impact the next 50.

    I would also like to have all the candidates who advocate for the high quality services that Cambridge provides (and I generally support) but do not support development to explain in some detail their approach to funding such services, including the increases in real estate taxes they are willing to support.

    Comment by Charlie Marquardt — August 17, 2013 @ 11:59 am

  5. I would be shocked if any councilor or councilor to be would ever respond to this. It isn’t in their best interest to express an opinion on any subject. In the spirit of being a noncommittal politician I will fill out my answers to these questions as I will undoubtedly run for a council seat some day, and I’d like to create a pattern of continuity as well as show these timid flowers that having an opinion and honestly presenting it is what this city needs desperately.

    Comment by Patrick Barrett — August 18, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

  6. Almost all candidates have responded in the past, so I expect most of them will do so again. It’s free publicity, after all. None of them is obliged to give a response to all topics.

    Failure to respond is, of course, a response in itself – and one that most voters will interpret appropriately.

    Comment by Robert Winters — August 18, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

  7. Im surprised, they all seems so wishy washy when you talk to them in person.

    Comment by Patrick Barrett — August 18, 2013 @ 4:45 pm

  8. How about something like “Name at least one City Council decision from the current term that you disagree with and describe how you would have handled it.” If the challengers would have treated every issue the exact same way as the majority of the incumbents, why are the even running?

    Comment by Will MacArthur — August 18, 2013 @ 11:05 pm

  9. Will – That’s the kind of question I hope will be asked at candidate forums. For the Candidate Pages I have always preferred to present general topics on which candidates may make any statement they please, and the topics are chosen primarily to reflect the actual duties of a city councillor. Since candidates can modify their responses any time up to Election Day, they will have plenty of opportunity to differentiate themselves if they so choose.

    Elected officials often have to make difficult choices and they then have to stand by their votes. Challengers can, of course, say anything they please without ever having to answer for a difficult vote.

    Comment by Robert Winters — August 18, 2013 @ 11:15 pm

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