The rising cost of living in Cambridge is endemic, with luxury condominiums pricing even moderate-income families out of the city. I struggle to afford to live here, and regularly have to make sacrifices to stay in the city I love. I know the humiliation of being turned away by landlords who think holding a housing voucher makes a tenant undesirable. Even with the support of a housing voucher, prices in Cambridge are often just too high to apply the voucher support. Families are being saddled with exorbitant internet access costs in an age where broadband is as essential as any utility. An inclusive society would never stand for this. To maintain our vibrant, diverse community, Cambridge must increase the availability and accessibility of affordable housing and utilities.
I will work to:
- Encourage the development of mixed-use neighborhoods to increase the stock of affordable housing
- Incentivize the creation of family-sized, moderately priced units over luxury units
- Continue to increase the linkage fee for new developments
- Follow through on the recommendation of the Broadband Task Force to move toward the creation of a municipal broadband network
- Aggressively prosecute landlords who refuse voucher-holders if the voucher covers the rent
- Hold developers accountable to Cambridge’s inclusionary zoning ordinance, and down-vote developments that try to sidestep the intentions of that ordinance
- Further subsidize the (HUD established) Fair Market Rent price with city funds so that low income families can live in any Cambridge neighborhood
- Have Cambridge lease directly from local landlords and then sub-lease to voucher-holders
- Move to seize dilapidated or abandoned properties for use as affordable housing or community resources
- Restrict Airbnb-like services to owner-occupied units
- Encourage our universities to house more of their students
- Take seriously the city’s responsibility to lobby the state legislature for municipal authority to address local needs
In Cambridge, locally-owned, small businesses are what keep our communities vibrant and dynamic. Too many of these local establishments are falling victim to the rising rental crisis, though. I am committed to enacting policies to make Cambridge a city that supports and protects its small businesses.
I will work to:
- Incentivize property owners to break out and separately sell retail space, allowing for local business owners to own their space, instead of renting
- Strengthen restrictions on formula businesses in order to give local, small businesses a fighting chance
- Seize, by eminent domain, retail properties where the owner is actively discouraging retail operation.
Public health starts with a roof over the heads of every member of our community. Several other cities across the country have championed a Housing First policy and it’s time for Cambridge to step up with a Housing First policy that includes social services.
I will work to:
- Commit to doubling the number of beds in Cambridge shelters by 2020
- Create a safe keeping center, open 24 hours, where homeless individuals can learn about services, permanently store their belongings, and receive mail
- Create a pathway to permanent housing for medically-vulnerable, chronically homeless individuals that is contingent on receiving services
- Establish a direct-work program for homeless individuals that offers same-day, cash-remunerated work on municipal beautification projects
- Stock every homeless shelter with Narcan and train shelter staff on how to use it in the event of an overdose
Cambridge is experiencing a crisis of addiction and overdose, the severity of which we are only beginning to acknowledge. We must work to end the shame and silence around drug addiction by honoring and giving voice to the victims of drug overdose and their families. We must put aside harmful stigmas about drug use and its victims, and be receptive to courageous, evidence-based solutions.
I will work to:
- Increase funding for and expand availability of needle exchanges
- Participate in the DMH jail diversion program, designed to divert those with substance-use disorders toward community-based treatment, instead of the criminal justice system
- Encourage, through both education and funding, the use of non-pharmaceutical approaches to treat chronic pain
- Create a special high school program for students in recovery
- Decriminalize help-seeking
- Increase safe disposal sites, especially at locations away from police stations
- Approve the preliminary plan to install lock boxes with Narcan (naloxone) in high-traffic areas
- Create a safe injection site to offer a protective space with resources to combat overdose and prevent needle-borne disease
- Direct good samaritans to an anonymous harm-reduction hotline, instead of a police dispatcher
- Encourage the state legislature to sue Big Pharma for its role in creating and worsening the opioid crisis
I am the product of the New York and California public school systems, a fourth generation public university graduate, and I fervently believe in the power of public schooling. Right after college, I went to work teaching in the inner-city. Any former or current teacher can tell you: resources matter, but teachers matters most. Cambridge must attract the best teachers Massachusetts has to offer.
I will work to:
- Recognize teachers and schools that show significant improvement in childhood learning
- Establish a fund to support teacher- and librarian-submitted projects and programs
- Increase funding, especially teacher and librarian pay, for lower-performing schools
- Increase funding for professional development for teachers and librarians
- Increase funding for resource-heavy programs, such as Computer Literacy, Arts, and Physical Education
- Establish an internship program, especially in tech fields, to guarantee that our youth can take advantage of Cambridge’s growing industry
- Guarantee that every child who has not eaten breakfast or lunch, can access their education with a full stomach