Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

April 2, 2017

Springing into April – Agenda items from the April 3, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 11:54 pm

Springing into April – Agenda items from the April 3, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting

Impeach - The Honey DrippersThe BIG ITEM at this meeting is the ordination of the amendments to the City’s Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance. Then there’s also the call for impeachment of the President. Here are some nuggets that caught my attention:

Manager’s Agenda #1. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $5,250,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Fund Public Works Extraordinary Expenditures account to facilitate the complete renovation of the building located at 859 Massachusetts Avenue.

I’m glad that this building is being rehabilitated for this purpose, but I am astonished at the size of the appropriation – apparently just for this one residential building. Is this what the costs are "to meet the requirements of the City’s Net Zero standards"?

Manager’s Agenda #2. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $2,875,000 from Free Cash to the General Fund Public Works Other Ordinary Maintenance account ($1,940,000) and to the Public Works Public Investment Fund ($935,000) to cover winter 2016-2017 snowstorm expenses associated with snow plowing contracts, salt, other material, repair costs and equipment.

I would like to request that the contract not be renewed for whoever was responsible for using the front of my and my neighbors’ houses as a snow storage area for snow moved there from elsewhere. My only other complaint is that apparently the City’s snow clearance guidelines no longer include plowing all the way to the curb on snow emergency routes even for relatively modest snow events. This led to cars being parked 3-5 feet from the curb on some of these streets. The result is a significantly narrowed roadway that is less safe for everyone. I could understand this being the case in an especially harsh winter (like two years ago) where there’s just no place else to put the snow, but this should not have been the case for this relatively mild winter.

Manager’s Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of Betsy Allen as the new Director of Equity and Inclusion (formerly known as Director of Affirmative Action) for the City of Cambridge, effective Apr 10, 2017.

Manager’s Agenda #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as a members of the Vision Zero Advisory Committee, effective Apr 3, 2017 for a term of two years: Nicholas Dard, Anne Kreider, Jennifer Quick, Peter Kuhlmann, Stephen Varrichio, Becca Wolfson, Nathanael Fillmore, Stacy Thompson, Richard Fries, Wendy Landman, Amy Flax, Sean Peirce, Jim Gascoigne, Michael Muehe, Diane Gray, Todd Robinson, Michele Trifiro and Steve Crossley

I hope this newly appointed advisory committee will focus on actual safety rather than recommending disruptive changes to roadways that are more political than practical and which primarily serve to marginalize cyclists (literally).

Manager’s Agenda #7. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt with suggested modifications, the Zoning Petition to Amend Section 8.23 – Reconstruction of Nonconforming Structure or Use Following Fire, Explosion or Other Catastrophe.

Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Mar 29, 2017 to discuss a proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment to strikeout Section 8.23 entitled “Non-conformity” and substitute in place thereof a new Section 8.23.

The modifications suggested by the Planning Board are sensible. The City Council may also wish to consider time extensions beyond the allowed time frame via special permit in case of extraordinary circumstances.

Update: The petition was amended by substitution using language recommended by the Planning Board, then passed to a 2nd Reading.

Manager’s Agenda #8. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to amendments to Title 6 of the Municipal Code entitled "Animals" to include a new Chapter 6.20 entitled "Restrictions on the Sale of Animals in Pet Shops".

Very well, but where will you purchase mice and other live food for your pet snake or other animal?

Update: These amendments were referred to the Ordinance Committee.

Unfinished Business #7. An amendment to the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge in Inclusionary Housing, including the insertion of new definitions in Article 2.000 and the substitution of revised zoning text for the current text to Sections 11.200 through 11.206. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Apr 3, 2017. Planning board hearing held Dec 20, 2016. Petition expires Apr 4, 2017.

This should be all set based on the language that was passed to a 2nd Reading on March 20, and the vote will likely be unanimous unless there are some problematic last-minute amendments. It remains to be seen whether the 20% affordable mandate will be viable in the long term or if it only serves to exacerbate the gap between high income and low income residents. My greatest concern is that the current policies will eventually lead to a future where only very high income people can buy or rent unrestricted housing units and the only option for everyone else will be to file an application with a City housing agency to obtain housing.

Update: Ordained 9-0, as expected.

Order #2. That the City Council call upon the United States House of Representatives to support a resolution authorizing and directing the House Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, including but not limited to the violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause and the Domestic Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution.   Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Devereux, Councillor Cheung

This will certainly bring the TV crews out. [ABCNews story] City Council Orders don’t generally get titles, but perhaps this one could be called "An Order Calling for Hard Right Conservative VP Mike Pence to Assume the Presidency". Be careful what you wish for. I received an email appeal recently about this Order with the subject heading "Support Bold Action by the City Council". It would perhaps better be characterized as a symbolic action meant to achieve nothing more than the attention of ill-intentioned Congressmen, Senators, and the Executive Branch. What exactly that achieves is yet to be determined.

Update: This purely symbolic order passed on a 7-1-1 vote with Councillor Maher voting NO and Councillor Toomey voting PRESENT. The real question is which councillor gets the most quotes in the local press and the most face time on national TV.

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Nadeem Mazen, Chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee, for a public hearing held on Feb 15, 2017 to discuss next steps on bike and transit safety in Cambridge.

Suffice to say that I am very concerned that for purely political reasons some Cambridge streets may soon look like a forest constructed of upright PVC pipe, marginalized cyclists, dangerously narrowed roadways, loss of parking in places where it’s needed, and no net additional safety. I am often reminded of the fact that "skyways", i.e. elevated highways, were one touted as the be-all-end-all solution to traffic problems. Decades later many of these misguided visions are being dismantled as the wrong solution. – Robert Winters

March 29, 2017

Nadya Okamoto Announces Candidacy for Cambridge City Council

Filed under: 2017 election,Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 2:36 pm

Nadya Okamoto Announces Candidacy for Cambridge City Council

Nadya OkamotoMar 29, 2017 – Nadya Okamoto, a 19-year-old nonprofit director and global advocate for youth empowerment and gender equality, officially launched her campaign for Cambridge City Council early this morning. Okamoto announced her candidacy in a video discussing her background, commitment to Cambridge, and key issues addressed in her progressive campaign platform.

“Right now, Cambridge as a city needs to highlight and implement specific solutions for affordable housing, economic opportunity, and education equity,” says Okamoto. She announced that her run for City Council is for:

  • Young people in Cambridge to have direct representation and trust in their government
  • Families struggling to find adequate and stable housing
  • Maximizing the potential of how local universities can contribute to Cambridge
  • Equitable opportunities in education and employment for all Cambridge residents
  • Progress towards an even more environmentally-friendly city

Nadya is the Founder and Executive Director of PERIOD, a global organization providing and celebrating menstrual hygiene through advocacy, education, and service. She founded the organization when she was just 16-years-old after her family experienced living without a home of their own. Since its founding in 2014, the organization has addressed almost 80,000 periods, reaching student advocates at over 65 campuses, and engaging over 5 million people in the message of normalizing periods.

With her background in grassroots organizing, activism, and community capacity building — and her personal connection to the key issues many underserved Cantabrigians face every day, Okamoto will bring a much needed, complementary perspective to City Council. “Whether it be fighting for affordable housing, educational equity, worker’s rights, or our environment, I’ll be right there with you as one of your city councillors, acting as a megaphone for all Cambridge residents,” says Okamoto.

Nadya OkamotoNadya Okamoto, a first-year student at Harvard College, is working with a full-time campaign team of young people eager to engage Cambridge voters — and not just student voters. Okamoto says that this campaign is bigger than her and her team — and hopes the initiative will also spur other young people across the United States to have confidence in the value of their voices and necessity of their civic leadership. While Nadya is excited by the unexpected national and international media attention she has already received and opportunity to model civic leadership for youth, she emphasizes that her campaign intends to win and above all to bring attention to long-standing issues that demand greater participation and innovative solutions.

“I do what I do because my purpose is to love and build community while uplifting others, and reconcile the privilege, voice, and passion that I have to serve and make a difference wherever I am and with whatever I have.”

To learn more about Nadya and her platform, visit www.votenadya.com.

2017 Cambridge Candidate Pages

March 28, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 215-216: March 28, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 215 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on March 28, 2017 at 5:30pm. Topics chosen from the Mar 27 Cambridge City Council meeting. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]


Cambridge InsideOut Episode 216 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on March 28, 2017 at 6:00pm. The main topic was a survey of the potential City Council and School Committee candidates in the 2017 Cambridge municipal election, and the Cambridge Candidate Pages. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

[Materials used in this episode]

March 26, 2017

End of the March – Interesting Items on the March 27, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , , , , — Robert Winters @ 11:45 pm

End of the March – Interesting Items on the March 27, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda

First Sign of SpringHere’s my take on this week’s agenda:

Manager’s Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as a members of the Harvard Square Kiosk Working Group, effective Mar 27, 2017: Abra Berkowitz, Robyn Culbertson, Ankita Deshpande, Timothy Hyde, Janet Si-Ming Lee, Sarah Rosenkrantz, Daniel Andrew Schofield-Bodt, Kenneth Taylor, John DiGiovanni, Bertil JeanChronberg, Frank Kramer, Peter Kroon, Sohail Nasir, Abhishek Syal, Thomas Lucey and Mary Flynn

This is shaping up like a classic turf war and I hope these appointees can get beyond that. Personally, I would just like to see an active use for the Kiosk that’s not all about the tourists – a place where the locals want to gather. My ideal would be something like Sullivan’s at Castle Island in South Boston, but I don’t suppose the Old Cambridge crowd could ever tolerate that much humanity.

Manager’s Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the requirements of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) that the City Council adopt an order for the Statement of Interest Form to be submitted to MSBA no later than Apr 7, 2017 for the Tobin and Vassal Lane Upper School located at 197 Vassal Lane.

The Putnam Avenue School is done and the King Open and Cambridge Street Upper Schools are now under construction. This Statement of Interest concerns the next major renovation or replacement – the Tobin and Vassal Lane Upper School. Let’s hope there’s some state grant money available to help pay for the project.

Manager’s Agenda #11. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a proposed ordinance related to the growth and maintenance of “Running Bamboo”.

Alternatively, we could import pandas. City officials are just so resistant to creative solutions.

Manager’s Agenda #12. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Numbers 16-64 and 17-9, regarding trash and recycling pick up for small businesses.

"DPW is proposing to expand the municipal recycling pick-up program on a trial basis to small businesses beginning in the spring/summer of 2018. It is proposed that this program will be made available to all small businesses throughout the City on a once per week basis, and will help reduce the cost to businesses in eliminating the need for them to contract with outside vendors as well as enabling the City to further increase the quantity of material diverted from the waste stream in the City. Funds are included in the FY18 budget to initiate the program."

Manager’s Agenda #14. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the transfer of $1,000,000 from the Water Fund Other Ordinary Maintenance account to the Public Investment Fund Water Extraordinary Expenditures account to fund the replacement of water meters and meter transmitter units (MTUs).

Contained in the message is the following piece of good news: "In October 2016, the Council approved an appropriation to use $3.6 million from the Water Fund’s Fund Balance to purchase water from the MWRA to ensure an adequate supply of water to meet the needs of the community. The severity of the drought has lessened and the usable capacity in our reservoir system has stabilized. The City has not had to use MWRA water since the beginning of December and has only expended $1.6 million."

Manager’s Agenda #15. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to recommendations for the block rates for water consumption and sewer use for the period beginning Apr 1, 2017 and ending Mar 31, 2018.

According to the Manager’s report, the average triple-decker uses about 122 CCF of water per year. My triple-decker apparently uses nearly twice that and we’re generally pretty conscientious about water use. This past year I paid over $2850 and the report says the average for a triple-decker was $1590. Either something is amiss with the plumbing or the Manager’s figures or my water meter is reading a lot higher than it should. Actually, I just checked my records and it appears that the higher readings coincide with when the new meter was installed. Time to call the Water Department, I guess.

Order #1. City Council go on record urging the Governor to resist reducing funding for The Ride.   Mayor Simmons

It’s stunning just how backwards things are in this state and, in particular, the Boston Metropolitan Area when it comes to public transportation. I don’t doubt that there are some efficiencies to be had with The Ride and other services, but this hardly seems the place to close a budget gap.

Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the Acting Police Commissioner with a view toward piloting a Cambridge Police outpost located in Carl Barron Plaza, to be ready for operation by Summer 2017.   Mayor Simmons, Vice Mayor McGovern

What should really happen is for the City and the MBTA and a Central Square property owner to create a multi-function site that can house a police substation, an MBTA facility for bus drivers and other personnel, an information center, a public bathroom, and maybe even a newsstand. That, of course, would take coordination, so I won’t hold my breath.

Order #6. That the City of Cambridge opposes H.R. 482 and S. 103, and calls on its representatives in the House and Senate to vote against these bills, and to exert influence on other representatives to oppose these bills and support the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in all efforts to affirmatively further fair housing and collect data to assess the progress of fair housing initiatives and inclusiveness of its communities.   Vice Mayor McGovern, Mayor Simmons

In addition to the many positive effects of the Fair Housing Act, there is also the unintended consequence that efforts to more equitably locate some social-service types of housing throughout the city have actually been hindered by this Act. There is no legal way to prevent the over-concentration of such facilities in a place like Central Square.

Order #7. That the City Council agenda be altered to create a section in the agenda between public comment and the City Manager’s agenda entitled “General Council Discussion,” where Councillors would be able to bring their colleagues up-to-date on projects in which they are engaged or ask for updates about projects that other Councillors are working on, even if these issues do not appear on the Council’s agenda or have never been the subject of formal City Council attention.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Devereux

In an ideal world, city councillors would actually be working on such projects collaboratively and in accordance with the Open Meeting Law via the various City Council subcommittees. If this were the case there would be no need to set aside a special time at City Council meetings to reveal what they’ve been doing out of public view.

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Mar 16, 2017 to discuss a zoning petition filed by Richard Harding, et al., to amend the Mass + Main Residential sub district and the Central Square Overlay District by amending Sections 20.307.8.1 (a) and (b) and 20.307.6.2 (a).

Even if someone has lingering objections to the Mass+Main project, this is an absurd way to go about expressing those objections long after that train left the station. – Robert Winters

March 21, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 213-214: March 21, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 213 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast March 21, 2017 at 5:30pm. Topics included the State Championship victory of the CRLS Boys Basketball team, some upcoming civic events, design review of MIT-Kendall projects, and a curious zoning petition that appeared at the Mon, Mar 20 City Council meeting regarding short-term rentals. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]


Cambridge InsideOut Episode 214 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast March 21, 2017 at 6:00pm. Topics included zoning and short-term rentals, changes to the Smoking Ordinance, and the proposed changes to the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance that was passed to a 2nd Reading at the Mon, Mar 20 City Council meeting. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

[Materials used in this episode]

March 19, 2017

Springtime in Cambridge: Featured Mar 20, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda Items

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , , , — Robert Winters @ 11:51 pm

Springtime in Cambridge: Featured Mar 20, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda Items

It's SpringHere’s a sampler of items of potential interest at the March 20 Cambridge City Council meeting. Happy spring! (It’ll be warm again before you know it.)

On the Table #5. That the City Manager is requested to establish the requirement that all appointments to the City’s commissions, advisory committees, and task forces reflect the City’s diversity and that the Civic Unity Committee is asked to sign off on all such appointments going forward. [Charter Right exercised by Mayor Simmons on Order #8 of Feb 27, 2017. Tabled on a motion by Councillor Cheung on a voice vote of 8 members on Mar 6, 2017.]

Perhaps they’ll settle this on Monday. As I’ve stated before, the goal is laudable but you cannot give veto power over City Manager appointments to a committee.

Unfinished Business #6. An amendment to the Municipal Code Ordinance that Title 8 entitled “Health and Safety” be amended in Chapter 8.28 entitled “Restriction on Youth Access to Tobacco Products and in Smoking in Workplaces and Public Places” by amending 8.28.050 entitled “ Definitions for Prohibition of Smoking in Workplaces” by adding a new definition. [The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Mar 20, 2017.]

I’m sure a few of the smoking risk denial crowd will be there to testify against this. They should take a walk on Berkshire St. beforehand.

Applications & Petitions #1. A zoning petition has been received from the Friends of Observatory Hill Village, to establish the Observatory Hill Village Overlay District. (1000+ additional signatures for this zoning petition are on file in the City Clerk’s Office.)

The language of the petition seems reasonable enough, but I’m always curious about what recent activities in an area lead to the decision to submit a petition for a change in the zoning. Are back yards being built over? Are new buildings being built that bear no relationship to the existing buildings. Just curious.


Applications & Petitions #3. A zoning petition has been received from Latoyea Hawkins Cockrill, et a., to amend the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge to regulate short-term rental uses throughout the City.

Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Craig Kelley, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, for a public hearing held on Mar 1, 2017 to draft language for short-term rental regulations to be forwarded to the Ordinance Committee.

These two have to be discussed together, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this petition and the soon-to-be City Council petition on the same topic are processed concurrently. There has been some discussion on the neighborhood listservs that the Cockrill Petition is really being submitted by AirBnB to counter the proposal coming out of the City Council that would normalize short-term rentals but restrict it to owner-occupied properties. I expect there will be a lot of public comment on this one.


Communications #3. A communication was received from Peter Valentine, 37 Brookline Street, transmitting thanks for seeing the true totality of what he does, reducing complicated things to their simplest level.

In a strange way, I have to agree with Peter.

Resolution #2. Congratulations to the CRLS Boys Basketball Team on their Division 1 (North) Championship.   Councillor Toomey

Now we can add a 2nd straight State Championship to that. The CRLS Falcons won the championship game on Saturday night by a score of 70-43 over Franklin High School.

Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate City departments on the feasibility of installing a hitting tunnel at Danehy Park for youth and high school sports.   Councillor Toomey

I’ve been badgering Kendall Square developers for years about putting a miniature golf course there. A batting cage would also be nice. Show us how Innovative you really are.

Order #5. Recognize the efforts of AIDS Action Cambridge, the SIFMA Now Coalition, and First Church in Cambridge to promote greater awareness about the ongoing opiate epidemic crisis, and their collective efforts to increase access to effective treatment throughout Cambridge.   Mayor Simmons

Further comment is unnecessary. This is important.

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Economic Development and University Relations Committee, for a public hearing held on Feb 14, 2017 to discuss the Retail Strategic Plan and similar issues related to the retail environment in Cambridge.

This report seems short on specifics, but apparently the process leading to a Retail Strategic Plan for Cambridge business districts still has a way to go. In any case, it’s not always the City plans that govern the eventual outcomes. There are many hands stirring these pots and zoning alone cannot predetermine outcomes.

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Marc C. McGovern, Chair of the Finance Committee, for a public hearing held on Jan 25, 2017 to discuss the City’s Fiscal Year 2018 Operating and Capital Budget.

The Manager and staff provided the context, and the councillors provided the wish lists. Tune in early May for the Budget Hearings.

Committee Report #5. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Feb 28, 2017 to conduct an additional hearing to discuss a petition by the City Council to amend provisions of the Zoning Ordinance as it related to Inclusionary Housing, including the insertion of new definitions in Article 2.000 and the substitution of revised zoning text for the current text to Sections 11.200 through 11.206.

This is the meatiest item on the agenda. It is presumed that the petition will be passed to a 2nd Reading with the 20% net inclusionary housing mandate and other changes. The sticky point is whether the Council wants to jettison legal reasoning and retroactively impose the same requirements on Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) that have already received Special Permits. It may be politically popular to impose requirements that are certain to be challenged and likely to be invalidated by the courts but, hey, enjoy your Revolution. Then educate yourselves about long-term planning and financing of large-scale developments. – Robert Winters

March 10, 2017

Paul Toner Declares Candidacy for Cambridge City Council

Filed under: 2017 election,Cambridge,City Council,elections — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 2:10 pm

Paul Toner Declares Candidacy for Cambridge City Council
Lifelong Cambridge resident, parent, education leader and activist announces run for Cambridge City Council with support of community leaders

Paul TonerMarch 10, 2017 – The Toner for City Council campaign released the following statement today:

Paul Toner is a lifelong resident of Cambridge who has chosen to live and work, as well as raise and educate his children in the city. An attorney and former Cambridge Public Schools teacher and lawyer, Paul went on to become one of the most influential public education leaders in the state as President of the 110,000 member Massachusetts Teachers Association. He is currently the Executive Director of Teach Plus Massachusetts and has served on the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Board of Directors, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and numerous education committees.

Paul Lonergan, Campaign Chairman for the Committee to Elect Paul Toner stated “I have known Paul Toner for many years. He is a good friend and great dad. He has been a proven leader in his career and the community and will bring common sense leadership to the City Council. I am proud to support him in this campaign.”

"I’ve had the privilege of working with Paul for many years on education and economic issues at the state and local level. I know he’ll work tirelessly with everyone to keep our city diverse and affordable." Said David Sullivan, North Cambridge resident and former City Councillor.

“Paul will be an incredibly effective advocate for all of Cambridge,” current City Councilor David Maher said. “Paul has spent his career bringing people together to make progress towards a vision of shared prosperity and a government that works for everyone. I know he will do the same as a City Councilor.”

Toner said “Eighteen years ago, I was David Maher’s campaign manager for his first City Council race. I know how long ago it was because my daughter was 6 months old as I toted her around the city campaigning for David. She is now 18, a senior at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School and is preparing for college in the fall.”

“Throughout my life and career as a teacher, lawyer, union leader, and public school parent, I have sought to serve my community. I see running for the City Council at this time as an extension of this work and as an opportunity to use my skills, experience, and wealth of knowledge to make a meaningful impact on the council.”

“I have seen enormous changes in our community and there are new challenges ahead. I believe I can help to bring old and new Cambridge together. Through open and respectful public discourse that is so sorely needed in our political conversations right now, we can make real progress on the challenges that we face. As a leader, I have sought to build consensus to make policy decisions based on collaboration, open dialogue, and data. I am confident that I can bring the same spirit of respect and collaboration to the council. I will work with the council members, staff, and constituents to provide the solutions-oriented leadership necessary to develop and implement a vision for our city that preserves the best of our past and prepares us for the future.”

March 9, 2017

Sean Tierney Announces Candidacy for Cambridge City Council

Filed under: 2017 election,Cambridge,City Council,elections — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 6:09 pm

Sean Tierney for Cambridge City CouncilSean TierneyThurs, Mar 9, 2017 – Sean Tierney announced today his candidacy for Cambridge City Council. Mr. Tierney is the Research Director & Legal Counsel for the Joint Committee on Housing for the Massachusetts State Legislature. In his announcement, Mr. Tierney highlighted his housing and public policy experience as crucial attributes that he would bring to the Council.

“I want to use my experience as a housing policy attorney to help Cambridge adequately address our housing needs. I am committed to developing city policies that help our longtime residents stay in our neighborhoods. I also recognize the profound need for new housing options for all income levels. This is a challenging issue for Cambridge. We must work together, but we must also partner with our municipal neighbors to confront our housing shortage as a regional crisis,” Mr. Tierney said.

In an email and Facebook message to supporters, Mr. Tierney credited his Cambridge upbringing for defining his values, political philosophy, and commitment to the Cambridge community.

“I am a proud graduate of the Cambridge Public Schools and continue to volunteer as a football coach for the Falcons. At Cambridge Rindge and Latin we were taught the importance of our high school’s motto: “opportunity, diversity, and respect.” We learned to recognize gaps in opportunity and understand the roots of inequality and privilege; to celebrate our differences, and treat each other with compassion and dignity; to question the status quo and to believe that through hard work, dedication, and consensus, we can always do better. These are the core values that drive my candidacy,” Mr. Tierney said.

Mr. Tierney began his career working at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics where he ran the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum. The Tierney campaign highlighted their candidate’s dedication to public service:

  • Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Teaching Fellow, City on a Hill High School in Roxbury.
  • Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy, Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.
  • Legal Intern, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice.
  • Cambridge Ward 9 Delegate, 2014 State Democratic Convention.
  • Fellow, New Leaders Council, a training program for progressive Millenials.
  • Deputy Legal Counsel, Committee on Revenue at Massachusetts Legislature.
  • Research Director & Legal Counsel, Committee on Housing at Massachusetts Legislature.

Mr. Tierney hopes to weave Cambridge’s rich history with the exciting possibilities of the city’s growing economy. He is committed to fostering pipelines of opportunity for all residents by leveraging our universities and the innovation economy.

“I believe that our diverse history and shared values will guide us as we work together to make Cambridge an inclusive and world-class city for generations. As city councilor, I will honor this history and represent our shared future,” Tierney said.

In his announcement, Mr. Tierney summed up his campaign in one sentence, “This is who I am, and this is what this campaign is all about: The City of Cambridge.”

Contact: 857-217-4236


Sean Tierney for Cambridge City CouncilStatement from Sean Tierney, Candidate for Cambridge City Council

My name is Sean Tierney and I am running for Cambridge City Council. I am a lifelong Cambridge resident, a volunteer in our community, and a housing policy attorney for the State Legislature. As your next city councilor, I will use my public policy experience and my passion for Cambridge to build a future for all city residents.

A Dedication to Public Service

I began my professional career working at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. I hosted national and international leaders and learned about the importance of strong and effective leadership. Inspired by President Kennedy’s famous words that an “educated citizen has an obligation to serve the public,” I decided to attend law school with the goal of serving my community.

In law school, I committed myself to public service opportunities. I taught Constitutional Law and coached a moot court team at City on a Hill High School in Roxbury, researched election law issues for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, and served as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. Now, as a licensed attorney, I develop affordable housing policy for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

I hope to continue on my path as a public servant for our city.

A Pro-Housing Agenda

I want to use my experience as a housing policy attorney to help Cambridge adequately address our housing needs. I am committed to developing city policies that help our longtime residents stay in our neighborhoods. I also recognize the profound need for new housing options for all income levels. This is a challenging issue for Cambridge. We must work together, but we must also partner with our municipal neighbors to confront our housing shortage as a regional crisis.

Cambridge Values

I am a proud graduate of the Cambridge Public Schools and continue to volunteer as a football coach for the Falcons. At Cambridge Rindge and Latin, we were taught the importance of our high school’s motto: “opportunity, diversity, and respect.” We learned to recognize gaps in opportunity and understand the roots of inequality and privilege; to celebrate our differences, and treat each other with compassion and dignity; to question the status quo and to believe that through hard work, dedication, and consensus, we can always do better. These are the core values that drive my candidacy.

A Commitment to Community

Sean TierneyCambridge is many things to many people. It is a new and exciting place centered around our universities, life sciences, and technology sector. It’s also a community with deep roots, family ties, and streets that are neighborhoods.

To me, Cambridge is also a place where friendships are forged on our athletic fields and in our classrooms; it’s playing on Huron Ave. and sleepovers on Western. It’s an afternoon in Jefferson Park and a night in Harvard Square. It’s S&S wings, Coast Café, Angelo’s cheese fries, Izzy’s, and a slice at Armando’s. It’s 1369 coffee, Memorial Drive on Sunday afternoons, and the graffiti wall on Modica Way. It’s Hoyt Field, Gold Star Pool, and a walk around Fresh Pond. It’s helping your neighbor shovel snow and finding a gift of Haitian griot and pikliz at your door. It’s art, it’s style, it’s individuality, and at the same time it’s community.

I believe that our diverse history and shared values will guide us as we work together to make Cambridge an inclusive and world-class city for generations. As city councilor, I will honor this history and represent our shared future.

This is who I am and this is what this campaign is all about: The City of Cambridge.

I look forward to meeting you and hearing your story.


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