Featuring photos from inauguration, my committee assignments, policy orders I have been working on, and a look ahead to my first community office hours
February Office Hours
I hope you will join me at our first community office hours event, on Friday, February 16 from 8-10 AM at WorkBar Cambridge (45 Prospect Street). We will have bagels from 1369 and I will discuss my first month in office and whatever issues are on your mind!
We will also have our first activist social on Tuesday, February 20, from 6-9 PM at WeWork Cambridge (625 Mass Ave). Here we will plan our activism for the crucial 2018 midterms, discuss some ways to get involved on longer term civic projects in Cambridge, and grow stronger as a community. There will be snacks and board games, including the opportunity to challenge me in a game of chess :-)
The new council convened for the first time on New Year's Day, with a swearing-in ceremony and the election of Mayor McGovern and Vice Mayor Devereux. It was a beautiful ceremony, and I was grateful to be able to share it with my family, friends and supporters. Mayor McGovern gave an excellent speech bringing us together as Cambridge United. I'm excited for my first term in office, and I look forward to working with all of my colleagues on moving our objectives forward on the council.
To commemorate Martin Luther King Jr day, I attended the day of service at city hall where we made care packages and collected food to give to those in need. I also attended the 43rd annual celebration at the Central Square Library and heard the wonderful Reverend Irene Monroe speak. Finally, I attended a talk about how "not knowing" factors into racism led by Dr. Jennifer Yanco, the author of "Misremembering Dr. King".
In these trying times, Dr. King's radicalism is needed more than ever, and I'm glad that Cambridge works hard on keeping his memory alive for all of us. I am committed to working for justice for all people, in Cambridge and beyond.
Mass Municipal Association Annual Meeting
I attended my first Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) conference in Boston on January 19. It was a great event; I especially appreciated the Women Elected Municipal Officials (WEMO) Leadership Luncheon featuring Andrea Cabral. She fired up the crowd, and several women, including our Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, asked her if she would run for office again (she declined). I was glad to attend the luncheon with my colleagues Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui and Councillor Mallon, in support of all the women who are stepping up to run for office and serve in government.
Speaking on tax and budget panel at MIT
I was invited to speak on a panel at MIT about the effects of Federal budget cuts on our state and local budget, along with Phineas Baxandall from the MA Budget and Policy Center and State Rep. Mike Connolly. We covered many areas including transit, energy, the environment, and I spoke about the concept of a local income tax. Watch it here, our talk begins around 2:20:00.
January's Policy Orders
NYC Fossil Fuel Lawsuit- My resolution, cosponsored by Vice Mayor Devereux, put the council on record in support of the New York City lawsuit against the five major oil companies. These companies knew the impact their products would have on climate change for decades and stayed silent so they could continue to rake in the profits. Now, cities like Cambridge are facing millions of dollars in damages caused by the consequences of climate change. Just like with Big Tobacco in the 90's, it is time to make these companies pay!
Electric Vehicles - I cosponsored Vice Mayor Devereux's policy order calling for the city to report back on the possibility of increasing the number of publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations, particularly in residential neighborhoods. Besides the obvious environmental benefits which will be reaped by all residents, EV's have rapidly become as affordable as gasoline powered equivalent vehicles, and aNovember 2017 Union of Concerned Scientists study found that by switching from gas to electric, consumers would save an average of $770 per yearbecause they are cheaper to maintain, and the electricity is cheaper than gasoline per mile.
Space Savers - I cosponsored Vice Mayor Devereux's policy order (along with Councillor Siddiqui) which calls for the city to enforce the ban on space savers after snowstorms. Space savers create tension between residents and too often are misused to save parking spaces in perpetuity after a storm.
Snow Removal - My policy order, co-sponsored by Mayor McGovern and Vice Mayor Devereux, calls on the city to consider several ideas to improve the snow removal process following a major storm, specifically in light of the ever-worsening effects of climate change. Winters have become increasingly extreme over the past few decades, and we need to make sure the city is able to keep up.
Gore Street Construction- Co-sponsored by Councillor Siddiqui and Councillor Toomey, my policy order calls on the city to mitigate the impacts of the upcoming work being done on Gore Street and to ensure that the developer follows through on benefits verbally promised at a recent community meeting. The new development at Cambridge Crossing (formerly known as NorthPoint) requires upgrades to the city's sewer lines, and the city has settled on Gore Street as the only option. As we continue to experience one of the largest development booms in recent memory, we need to carefully consider all of the impacts that development will have on the surrounding neighborhoods.
I-90 Allston Interchange Project- I cosponsored Mayor McGovern's policy resolution, along with Vice Mayor Devereux and Councillor Carlone, calling on the council to support former Mayor Henrietta Davis's requests for action or further study relating to the I-90 Allston Interchange Project. Though most of the construction will happen across the river, Cambridge will be impacted significantly by the project. I want to thank Mayor Davis for taking the time to write out such a thoughtful and comprehensive report. Mayor Davis's full report is available here.
My Committee Assignments
Committees are an important tool for diving into complicated issues in a level of detail that cannot be processed during a regular council meeting. Here are my committee assignments for the 2018-2019 Council term:
Co-chair of the Health and Environment Committee, along with Vice Mayor Devereux
Chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebrations Committee
Member of the Government Operations/Rules and Claims Committee
Member of the Economic Development and University Relations Committee
Member of the Human Services and Veterans Committee
Member of the Transportation & Public Utilities Committee
Please let me know about any issues or topics you would like to see us discuss in committee.
Get In Touch!
I hope that you will reach out to let me know your thoughts on matters before the council or otherwise of importance to you. My council office number is 617-349-9479 and my email is [email protected]. You can also reach out to my aide, Dan Totten, at [email protected]. We love to hear from constituents!
Going forward, we will send a brief weekly update in addition to the monthly recap. The weekly update will have key items from the upcoming council agenda, as well as some ways to get involved in the community in the coming week. If you would like to only receive the monthly update, please let us know by replying to this email. Be sure to follow our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages for daily updates!