Democracy all begins with good government and accountability and Cambridge has been lacking in this of late. The residents too often are treated by city as the "enemy" of equity, good citizenship, and progress. What we are seeing here is a massive push for development without addressing the core issues of sustainability or cost. The city was asked to do a new city plan at the cost of multiple millions of tax payer money. They hired a great firm, the Boston design group, Utile, but instead of asking that this firm create a new city plan for Cambridge, instead the city chose to limit the group's input to ideas gathering. So we are left without the kind of critical plan that Council had funded and our residents very much wanted.
Environment, Green Issues and Sustainability
Cambridge has lost 22% of its tree canopy in the last ten years. The era of massive new developments has been a disaster with respect to our tree canopy and rare open spaces. Cambridge is in the top five of the list of most dense cities in the U.S. with populations over 100,000 people. Key parts of the city are built in a flood zone. We need smart planning to grow the city in a way that will be sustainable.
Affordable Housing Displacement and Gentrification
Cambridge is in the middle of a massive gentrification problem. More and more longtime residents are being forced out. Both renters and home owners are critical to the vitality of the City. Each case is important; each story is different. In the Riverside area, many historic African American and Hispanic families are hard hit and many more are losing their homes: https://vimeo.com/334075355/d08c28a45a This is an ongoing problem in Cambridge. Seniors also are getting hit and are being forced to leave the city with the large scale conversion of rental properties into condos.
Planning, Infra-structure, Smart Growth & Design
Growth requires smart planning and a city willing to invest in critical infrastructure remediation and changes. Already in 2013 Eversource notified the city that we are circa 93% capacity of electricity generation. Nothing was done. The current plan, to build a 150' generator in East Cambridge next to a primary school is untenable. In December 2018 a Civil War era water main broke in West Cambridge causing millions of dollars in damage to local residents. The city has taken no responsibility for this. Boston (and Cambridge) are now seen to have the worst traffic problems in the country, yet there are no plans for traffic mediation. This can't hold. We need a city that is willing to do the kind of planning that is needed to make Cambridge a livable and sustainable city into the future.
Community, Equity & Neighborhood Engagement
Cambridge is a wonderfully diverse city, one of the most diverse in the state, if not the country, but far too often the city has chosen to try to pit groups and neighborhoods against each other rather than addressing our shared concerns.
Public Programs, Arts & Education
How is it that a city as wealthy and as highly educated as Cambridge has no public pre-school possibilities? We know that early education is critical to advancement and success in life. Why are we not doing this here? There are other important concerns as well including smart vocational training, and enhanced learning and work experiences for our Seniors.