Earlier this week I sent you an important message about ABC’s city council candidates survey and the priorities/goals that drove our analysis and candidate ratings. We hope this information will be an important guide as you make your decision about whom to vote for this coming Tuesday, November 3rd.
In addition to our candidate information, I wanted to direct you to another resource that has just been posted on the Cambridge Chronicle website. Barry Bluestone, a distinguished economist and researcher who knows more about the Greater Boston housing market than perhaps anyone in our region, has written an editorial that clearly explains why we face such a housing crunch in Cambridge and what we can do to address this reality. Dr. Bluestone's article has serious implications for Tuesday’s election.
For years, Dr. Bluestone has been a leader in helping our region understand the serious challenges we face when it comes to providing an adequate supply of housing to meet the significant demand by families of all income levels. Since 2002 he has been the primary author of the yearly “Greater Boston Housing Report Card”, published by the Boston Foundation, which last year drew attention to a serious challenge facing all residents of our region, especially those living in poverty: people are paying a greater percentage of their income on housing — “a situation which must change if we are to give everyone a chance to succeed and thrive in our community” according to the Boston Foundation.
Dr. Bluestone's letter represents his personal views, which, like ABC's candidate ratings, are provided for informational purposes. A Better Cambridge has not endorsed any candidates in this election.
Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday. Need to know where your polling place is? Visit: http://wheredoivotema.com.
Election day is one week away. When you vote for the next city council on Tuesday, November 3rd, we hope you’ll use ABC’s candidate ratings and questionnaire as a guide.
Our city is at a critical crossroads. Cambridge, with its many virtues, has become an increasingly attractive place to live. Coupled with our underproduction of housing for the last decade, this demand has also made Cambridge more attractive to developers seeking to maximize profit. This reality brings with it many challenges to the character of our city and to the diversity of our community.
We believe this reality also provides an opportunity that can be leveraged to preserve our diversity and build a more vibrant city for all residents.
In September, ABC hosted a public discussion with three experts in affordable housing and development to understand the challenges and opportunities facing Cambridge. The consensus was clear: Cambridge must add substantially to the current housing stock in order to meet demand and slow the precipitous increase in housing prices:
We must be certain that this increase in housing produces as many affordable units, including middle income and family housing, as is economically feasible.
With affordable units required by inclusionary zoning and subsidized by market rate rents, together with units produced by the city working with our housing nonprofits using city parking lots and increased linkage fees, we can make substantial inroads in providing affordable housing.
Building more housing in areas with substantial public transportation, transportation that needs to grow as our region grows, close to large areas of employment will create transit oriented communities. These communities, where people can shop, work, play and live with the least amount of car usage, are the future of a sustainable Cambridge.
Facing both a climate crisis and a housing crisis, the time for Cambridge to embrace this future is now.
These are the issues that guide the ABC city council candidate questionnaire and ratings -- A higher rating demonstrates a candidate’s alignment with the ABC goals and priorities. With these issues in mind, we hope these ratings will be an important tool in your decision about who to vote for next Tuesday.
These ratings are our best attempt at a fair assessment but there is always an element of subjectivity in ratings. Judge for yourself by reading full text of the candidates responses.
If you find these ratings useful, we urge you to share with friends, family, neighbors and colleagues.
In an effort to help Cambridge voters make informed choices in the upcoming city council election, ABC is pleased to announce our 2015 city council candidate ratings. These ratings are based on a comprehensive questionnaire distributed to all 23 candidates to measure their level of agreement with key ABC priorities and goals. Higher rated candidates demonstrate a strong understanding of the complex housing and development challenges facing Cambridge today. They are best prepared to make Cambridge a more affordable and livable city for all residents, especially low-income families.
With a total maximum score of 45 points, the ABC candidate ratings are:
Click the image below to view a table summarizing details of the candidate ratings:
Click the image below to view each candidate's full responses to our questionnaire, including ABC's analysis and a description of our methodology:
Candidates not listed above did not respond to the ABC candidate survey.
* As of October 26th, John Sanzone has withdrawn as a candidate for City Council.Read more
While Cambridge’s real estate market booms and population is expected to grow in the coming decade, low and middle-income families in our city still struggle with unaffordable and rising housing costs. How can we ensure that new development in Cambridge serves the housing needs of all families including those with lower incomes? How does this relate to other important development issues -- density, walking/biking/public transit, parking, and creating exciting, walkable neighborhoods?
On Saturday, September 26th A Better Cambridge brought together experts to discuss what Cambridge can do to build a more diverse and affordable city for all families. Click here for a recap of the forum by ABC Chairman Jesse Kanson-Benanav. A full recording of the panel discussion is included below:
The panel was moderated by Dante Ramos, Op-Ed Columnist for the Boston Globe.
Panelists from left to right include:
- Andre Leroux, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance
- Aaron Gornstein, President/CEO of Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) & former Massachusetts Undersecretary for Housing & Community Development
- Ed Marchant, affordable housing development consultant and Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Materials used in the presentation include: