Update on Alewife moratorium

Thanks to everyone who has already responded to my email from Wednesday about the proposed Alewife moratorium. Our emails to the city council have been effective in highlighting the community opposition to this bad idea and it seems that the residents who promote this moratorium have backed off temporarily. Despite weeks of planning and collecting signatures on an online petition, no policy order, zoning petition, or other legislative action referring to an Alewife moratorium appear on Monday's city council agenda. Given that the council will not formally consider the moratorium on Monday, we don't need a full-court press of ABC members and supporters to show up to the city council meeting. If you have the time Monday it may be good to have a few of our folks there to oppose any late policy order, but in that case I don't suspect the council will vote on the item this week. This is probably just a temporary reprieve and concerted action from ABC will likely be needed to oppose an Alewife moratorium very soon. Emails from ABC supporters to the council about our opposition to a moratorium may still be useful at this time to let the council know we are monitoring this issue. Finally, while Alewife is on our mind don't forget that ABC is heading to Bertucci's at Alewife Station for our next Strictly Social Meet-Up this Wednesday, April 4th. Please visit our website or Facebook event to RSVP for some good conversations with great folks over pizza and beer! Thanks again for taking action so quickly to help build a better Cambridge.

Thanks for supporting ABC & Congrats to the Next City Council

It’s been a week since the Cambridge City Council election, and on behalf of the ABC board of directors I wanted to send a sincere thank you for all your engagement over these past months. We all have worked hard to ensure that Cambridge is ready for the challenges and opportunities ahead, and ABC continues to grow and become an important part of our broader civic dialogue. This is because of your participation and your commitment.We are thrilled with the election results. Three of our endorsed candidates won seats on the council including incumbent councillors Denise Simmons and Marc McGovern, as well as new councillor-elect Alanna Mallon! Along with the re-elected Tim Toomey & Craig Kelley who have both been supportive of ABC's pro-housing priorities in the past, I'm pleased that we retain a pro-housing majority on the next city council!I also want to take a moment to recognize Sean Tierney, Samuel Gebru, and Adriane Musgrave - our other endorsees who unfortunately did not gain seats on the council this time around. All three ran incredibly strong campaigns that focused on positive, inclusive visions for Cambridge's future. They have each demonstrated unwavering commitment to our community, and I'm confident they'll remain leaders in our community for years to come.Post-elections are also times to come together. While we didn’t agree with all 26 candidates on our key issues like housing and sustainable growth, we nevertheless wish all the councillors well as they embark on their important work. We congratulate and look forward to working on the issues we all care so much about with councillors-elect Sumbul Siddiqui and Quinton Zondervan, plus returning councillors Dennis Carlone and Jan Devereux.We at ABC thank you for all you’ve done to make our community a better one. We are very grateful to live in such a vibrant and dynamic community as this, and in that spirit, we wish you the very best as we enter this holiday time of year.   2017 Election Archive: Click here to read about our 2017 City Council candidate endorsements Click here to review our 2017 City Council candidate ratings

ABC City Council Endorsements 2017

Today is election day in Cambridge and we're at crossroads. ABC believes that, in a progressive community like Cambridge we must work to create more homes for all our families. However, some candidates believe that Cambridge is full and oppose the creation of sustainable, mixed-income homes in our community.ABC is proud to endorse six bold, progressive candidates who understand that increasing housing for all is crucial to racial justice and environmental sustainability. We encourage you to rank them 1-6 in any order Don't know where to vote? Visit http://www.wheredoivotema.com to find your voting location. Polls are open from 7am to 8pm.We need your vote to elect a City Council says YES to housing for all families. From left to right: Samuel Gebru, Adriane Musgrave, Sean Tierney, E. Denise Simmons, Marc McGovern, and Alanna Mallon. Marc McGovern (incumbent) is a stalwart when it comes to fighting for affordable housing. He led the way on increasing the percentage of affordable units provided and amount of money paid to the city by developers. As a social worker, he takes a holistic approach to the issues affecting the most vulnerable in our city and has a rare talent for bringing opposing stakeholders together to create progress. Denise Simmons (incumbent) may be famous for being the nation’s first black, openly lesbian mayor, but here in Cambridge, residents know her to be among the most effective and accessible leaders in the city. She’s fought to preserve and expand the city's stock of affordable housing, and is a tireless advocate for environmental, public safety, and diversity issues. Adriane Musgrave left her management consulting job to run for city council full-time. She has put her remarkable analytical, report-reading and data-mining skills to good use in understanding seemingly every problem that Cambridge faces. Her passions are smart zoning and development, and creating inclusive prosperity for all. Sean Tierney, a Cambridge native and attorney who works on tax and housing policy for the state legislature, offers an important perspective on the housing crisis. He is dedicated to finding innovative solutions that balance growth and increased density, while fighting the displacement that threatens Cambridge’s economic, racial, and cultural diversity. Alanna Mallon has already made Cambridge a better place by creating the Weekend Backpack Program, which ensures access to meals for our food insecure students. She has immense talent for spotting problems, creating the structures needed to address them, and coordinating existing solutions to better serve our most at-risk neighbors.  Samuel Gebru is an Ethiopian native and 2009 CRLS graduate. Despite being among the youngest candidates running for city council, he has an extensive record of leadership in community organizing, policy work, and advocacy. His commitment is to preserving and expanding housing opportunities for residents of all incomes and creating ownership units for low-income residents to build pathways to wealth and equity. These extraordinary candidates have earned ABC’s support because they understand the housing crisis and other issues facing Cambridge, have tangible ideas for addressing them, and the records to prove that they know how to be effective. Many candidates say the right things; ABC knows these candidates will do the right things.  The all-volunteer ABC election committee compiled these endorsements based on candidate responses to the questionnaire, performance at our candidate forum, stated positions, past work on issues, and clarifying interviews where necessary. Of the 26 candidates running for city council 20 responded to our questionnaire and 22 attended the forum. We thank all the candidates for their time and participation. Click here to view our full rating of all 20 candidates that responded to our candidate survey The members of the Elections Committee gave countless hours in the weeks leading up the selection of our endorsees. It was not an easy process, due to the number of qualified candidates and our commitment to keep the group small to effectively use our limited resources.

ABC 2017 Candidate Endorsements

We are happy to announce ABC's 2017 City Council Candidate endorsements. The candidates we have endorsed are most aligned with our platform on issues including housing affordability and supply, alternative transportation, and transit-oriented density. We encourage you to rank these candidates on November 7th. ABC's City Council Candidate Questionnaire along with the responses from each candidate who responded are also now available for viewing. We've included a graphic that reflects the results of our entire process. The all-volunteer ABC election committee compiled these endorsements & ratings based on candidate responses to the questionnaire, performance at our candidate forum, stated positions, past work on issues, and clarifying interviews where necessary. Of the 26 candidates running for city council 20 responded to our questionnaire and 22 attended the forum. We thank all the candidates for their time and participation. The members of the Elections Committee gave countless hours in the weeks leading up the selection of our endorsees. It was not an easy process, due to the number of qualified candidates and our commitment to keep the group small to effectively use our limited resources. Click the image above to read more details about the ABC-endorsed candidates.   Click the above image to view candidate responses from the 20 candidates who responded to our questionnaire.      

ACTION ALERT: Three actions this week for you to support more housing in Cambridge

There is so much going on in Cambridge right now that I’m taking the risk of sending you a long Action Alert on a Monday morning.This email contains information on three important and timely items we need you to take action on: Support New Homes at Volpe - Make your voice heard at Planning Board & Ordinance Committee meetings Tuesday & Wednesday Support Affordable Housing in Porter Square - 1791 Mass Ave development presentation on Tuesday Submit your questions (then attend) ABC City Council Candidate Forum on September 19th. I hope that you’ll read this full email for complete details on each item above. Continue reading

ABC August 2017 Newsletter: ABC Candidate Forum September 19th

With Labor Day just around the corner, the City Council election will be heating up. ABC will be hosting a candidate forum as well providing ratings and endorsements for the candidates this year. With 26 candidates for nine seats there is a lot of information to sort through. A great resource to start is the candidate pages on the Cambridge Civic Journal created by Robert Winters. If you are not yet a member of ABC, please consider joining, and bring a friend to one of our upcoming events (see below). Did someone forward you this email? Make sure you don't miss another newsletter or announcement from A Better Cambridge by signing up on our website: http://www.abettercambridge.org/sign_up. Development News The City Council passed regulations for short term rentals including AirBnB. The new rules restrict short term rentals to owner occupied units as well as requiring registration for hosts.WBURA group of MIT students filed a petition with the city requiring the university to add 1,800 graduate student beds before they could develop the Volpe transportation site.Boston GlobeAt the first Ordinance Committee hearing on MIT's zoning petition for the Volpe center, councilors pushed the university for a stronger and more detailed transportation plan. The next hearing before the Ordinance Committee is on September 13th at 2:30 pm in the Sullivan Chamber at City HallCambridge ChronicleFacebook announced plans to expand its presence in Kendall Square at a new building on Binney Street.Cambridge Chronicle UPCOMING EVENTS ABC is co-sponsoring the Citizens' Housing and Planning Association's (CHAPA) 3rd annual Housing Day at the State House on Thursday, September 14th. The event aims to gather over 200 advocates to meet with lawmakers and speak up for affordable housing, homelessness prevention, and community development. To get more information on attending click here. Don't miss the ABC candidate forum on issues of housing affordability and sustainable urban development in Cambridge on Tuesday, September 19th at 630 pm at the Broad Institute, 415 Main Street. Our moderator for the evening is David Sullivan, former Cambridge City Councilor and current special counsel to the President of the Massachusetts State Senate.We are excited to invite you to our first-ever A Better Cambridge Annual Fundraiser! Come celebrate with us and help ensure that we have the resources we need to be strong and effective advocates for housing for all. It will take place on Thursday, October 5th, from 6:30-9 at Meadhall in Kendall Square and will feature special guests, a buffet dinner, a silent auction, and more! You know we know how to throw a party and this is one you really don’t want to miss! Stay tuned for ticketing information in the coming week. LINKS OF INTEREST What Happens After the Real Estate Wave Crests?YIMBYism: More Housing, But How?Sierra Club: Housing - Dense, Near Transit, and Green - Can Be a Climate Solution

Will you join ABC at these two upcoming events?

I wanted to make sure you knew about two upcoming ABC events. I hope you can join us:CHAPA's Our Homes, Our Voices Rally  Monday, July 31st, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm in Samuel Adams Park in front of Faneuil Hall in BostonJoin ABC along with the Citizen Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), Cambridge Congresswoman Katherine Clark, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and housing advocates from around our Commonwealth for a rally in support of Federal investments in affordable homes and our communities. This is the local event in a national week of action against devastating cuts proposed by Congress and the White House to programs like public housing and Section 8.Please click here to RSVPABC's Greater Boston YIMBY Meet UpThursday, August 10th, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm at Cinderella's Pizza & Restaurant, 901 Mass Ave in Central SquareFrom Cambridge to Roslindale, Newton to Jamaica Plain, Malden to Dorchester, and points in between and far, residents are coming together to say YES In My Back Yard to more housing and sustainable development to address the housing affordability crisis in our region. Once again, ABC is devoting our regular Strictly Social event to bring together YIMBY activists from across Greater Boston. Whether you are affiliated with a YIMBY group in your community or not, we hope all pro-housing activists will join us to socialize and make connections with like-minded smart growth warriors. Please RSVP via the Facebook event. If you don't have Facebook RSVP via our website.I hope you can join us for both of these events.

Our Homes, Our Voices: Rally for Affordable Homes - July 31, 2017

  Please join A Better Cambridge & affordable housing advocates from around Massachusetts for a rally in support of federal investments in affordable homes and our communities. Our Homes, Our Voices Rally Monday, July 31st 11:30 am to 1:30 pm Sam Adams Park, Boston (in front of Faneuil Hall) Organized by our partners at the Citizen Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), this rally is the local event as part of a national week of action calling on Congress to fund programs that provide critical housing and anti-homelessness support to many Americans.Please RSVP via CHAPA's Facebook page for this eventABC will join with CHAPA, Cambridge Congresswoman Katherine Clark, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and other residents, housing advocates and policymakers from around our Commonwealth for this important rally. Too many families are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Nationally, only 25% of families in need receive housing assistance, which means millions of people do not have an affordable place to call home. The President and Congress are proposing devastating cuts that would increase housing instability and homelessness, including cuts to Section 8 and public housing. Our communities and state are working hard to address the challenges we face in Massachusetts. We cannot do it alone. Federal partnership is critical to creating vibrant communities. Please join us to ensure that everyone has the right to a safe, accessible, and affordable home.

ABC July 2017 Newsletter: Volpe on the Agenda at Next Week's General Meeting

A Better Cambridge has been shifting into higher gear recently. In fact, 2017 is shaking up to be our most impactful yet: Membership: We instituted formal membership criteria in January – and now have over 200 members! (Join here – dues are $20, but ABC will waive them if unaffordable.) 2017 City Council Election: Having formally filed as a nonprofit advocacy group we are readying to make our first-ever city councilor endorsements ahead of the November election as well as host a candidate forum this fall. Platform: At our first membership-only event in May, ABC members endorsed our platform. In a nutshell: “Increasing density is crucial to racial justice, environmental sustainability, and quality of life.” If you are as excited as we are to fight for a better Cambridge, please join, and bring a friend to one of our upcoming events (see below). Recent Events May 16 – Inaugural Members-only meeting at CCTV ABC members packed the room to the gills! We reviewed and approved the ABC platform, voted to endorse City Council candidates for the fall election, and discussed what ABC’s stance on parking minimums should be. ABC’s Map Committee also demonstrated the progress they have made explicitly mapping where Cambridge can most easily support increased density. April 19 – ABC Strictly Social Meet-Up at Tavern in the Square, Porter Square Check out our Facebook page for proof of a rollicking good time in Porter Square. March 28 – MAPC on Housing Demand in Cambridge and Greater Boston at MIT Stata Center In our March General Meeting (also packed, despite being rescheduled due to a snow storm), the Metropolitan Area Planning Council – a nonprofit promoting smart growth in the Boston area – highlighted the larger regional issues causing the housing crunch in Cambridge, and what we can do to fight it. (Check out the slides here.) UPCOMING EVENTS July 17 – Volpe Kendall Square Development: ABC’s July General Meeting (open to all) invites you to hear from and ask questions of MIT representatives about the proposed development. MIT’s proposal includes 1,400 housing units, a focus on locally-owned retail, and potentially the tallest residential building in Cambridge. There will also be a presentation on a proposed rail link for North and South Stations.                              Monday, July 17th • 6:30 P.M. • MIT Stata Center Let us know if you can make the meeting by RSVPing! ABC In The News The YIMBY (yes, in my back yard) movement is making headlines – and so are we! ABC cameoed in two recent high-profile articles on the dire need for increased density to remedy not only unaffordable housing, but also economic/racial inequality and environmental ills. Atlantic Monthly - From 'Not in My Backyard' to 'Yes in My Backyard'  Perfectly capturing the YIMBY ethos, the article says, “With more housing, the thinking goes, the cost of rent in thriving cities like San Francisco, Boston, and Portland will not rise so quickly, which will allow more people from different economic backgrounds to live there and share in the prosperity of the local economy.” It also quotes ABC chair Jesse Kanson-Benanav early on: “We’re saying yes to opportunity, in contrast to the gloom-and-doom negativity of NIMBY. […] There’s now a pro-housing, pro-density constituency in Cambridge that hadn’t been at the table previously.”  It is currently one of the magazine’s top 10 most-read articles. Boston Globe - Forget ‘Not in my backyard,’ YIMBY could be the new group on the rise Illustrated with our own Jesse as its poster boy, this May article is part of a series highlighting Boston-area “game-changers.” And YIMBY organizations are a game-changer, says the Globe. That’s definitely our plan. (For a particularly good time, read the comments to get an idea of what – even as game-changers – we’re up against!)  

ABC Responds to Slate Article: 'San Francisco's Civil War'

A Better Cambridge (ABC) thanks Slate for the article they ran by Henry Grabar about the challenges of providing affordable housing in our most expensive cities. While the article focused on San Francisco, it mentions Cambridge City Councillor Nadeem Mazen, who is quoted as saying, “The housing advocates and especially young urban planners, like this organization here A Better Cambridge, say ‘Build it now,’ ” Mazen said, referring to the local YIMBY group. “The problem with ‘Build it now’ is what we’re building is luxury housing with a small modicum of affordable required. They say there’s a 30-year wait, wait 30 years and luxury income will become middle-income housing. We have to understand that the free market isn’t going to solve this problem. Twelve or 20 percent isn’t enough.” Since Councillor Mazen mentioned us by name, we’d like to respond. Cambridge, like San Francisco, is no stranger to strong debates over the best strategies to reduce the cost of housing, and specifically increase the supply of affordable housing. ABC's fundamental belief is that the best way to reduce the cost of housing in today’s environment is to build more housing. We are just as concerned with preventing displacement of our neighbors, as we are with reducing housing costs. We believe new luxury housing provides an immediate reduction in displacement. Every luxury unit that is occupied is occupied by someone with the means to pay more rent than the vast majority of our neighbors. To compound the problem, typically when a housing development becomes too burdensome to get approved, it is replaced with a lab or office development which brings that many more affluent housing seekers into our city, displacing even more residents. We are focused on doing everything we can to bring housing costs down now. Our goal is to create an abundance of new homes in Cambridge and Metro Boston so people of all incomes can live in our city and region today. Slate has done a good job of highlighting the challenges our communities face, and the difficult politics associated with the housing debates. A Better Cambridge stands ready, willing and able to fight for housing for people of all incomes, a most basic human need. Original Link: http://www.slate.com/articles/business/metropolis/2017/06/yimbys_and_the_dsa_can_t_get_along_despite_their_common_enemy_high_rent.html