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Ethridge King was born in Barbados and raised in Cambridge, he is married to Astrid (a native of The Netherlands) and they have a 14-month old son Jasper. Ethridge is a product of the Cambridge Public Schools and he attended Boston University. He currently holds the position of Assistant Director for Development and Alumni Relations at B.U.
This proposal does many things: it slows down the density of housing, because my plan aims to utilize existing housing, it prevents the stigma of housing upwards of 2,000 densely housed low income residents in one location, it speaks to preserving more open-space, and it can only work if we make a conscious decision to work with our Universities and allow them to build more housing for their students. Ultimately my plan will reduce the demand for rental units, thereby increasing supply and thus reduce the cost. This is not pie-in-the-sky; we can get this done the first month of the new term and get immediate relief to families on verge of losing their homes.
Finally, if you are against Rent Control Iím your candidate and if you are in favor of Rent Control Iím still your candidate. I have a realistic plan to relief the rental crunch without shifting the burden onto the backs of Property Owners and at the same time we can put this issue to bed once and for all. This can all be done with out one penny of an increase in spending the money is already there and it has been for the past years.
Quality of Life:
Lets use commonsense, if you build a 100 unit housing unit or a 100,000 square foot commercial building or both, you will have an increase in traffic commensurate with the number of people utilizing these buildings, traffic studies notwithstanding.
Municipal Finance & Government:
It is worth stating that in the current Council zeal to be all things to all people controlling cost is never mentioned. I have participated in four forums thus far in this campaign and programs are put forward from giving free MBTA passes, to retrofitting old municipal buildings to comply with rigorous energy efficient standards. Though this is a course of action that should be followed to improve the quality of our environment, we must proceed within our financial limitations.
Much is said about our AAA Bond Rating, money in the bank and our per-pupil spending being the highest in the state. It is curious that we lead every other municipality in spending and yet lag embarrassingly in results. If our results are not inline with our expenditures then someone should be held accountable, itís that simple.
Environment and Public Health:
Cambridge has a great public transit infrastructure, but there is always room for improvement. Conservation is the right way to go. More efficient vehicles -- namely city trucks and buses, energy efficient building and homes -- are a good start.
Land Use, Planning, Development, and Transportation:
Though Affordable Housing is important, Conservation Land and Open-Space (what sparse amounts we have left) cannot be allowed to fall victim to it.
If you refer to my housing plan it is the most realistic plan to the following: increase affordable rental units, dispense with the bad economics of rent control, preserve and increase open-space and maintain our long-term goal of affordable homeownership. All the other candidates will start of by saying "We need to find a wayÖ." I have an actionable plan a VOTE for ETHRIDGE KING is a vote for effective LEADERSHIP.
I donít have answers to all our current challenges, but what I do know is that our City Councilors [some] cannot negotiate with our Universities and Business from their perch in City Hall using intemperate and divisive language. Clearly our Universities and Businesses have given us reason to be skeptical; our task is doable, however, if we begin with the following: mutual respect and leveraging the tremendous power of the City Government and the people in a constructive and realistic way in the understanding that we can have a win, win, win.
A democracy can only thrive if we all have a say in our Government. Massachusettsís incumbents are often unopposed in their reelections; last number I read that 94% of incumbents were unchallenged in their races. Couple the 6% contested elections with less than 30% of registered voters voting is a disconcerting trend our nation must at some point grapple with.
What Iím about to say maybe interpreted as controversial, but it needs to be said. Our culture has reached a point that it is now asking too much for voters to educate themselves about a particular race and then take a few minutes and go and vote. I donít buy the conventional wisdom that politicians are turning voters off, and I certainly donít buy the argument that elected officials are deeply concerned with voter apathy (voter apathy is the motherís milk that keeps incumbents in power). If we buy into this then we are missing the larger point. Until or unless candidates begin to speak to people frankly and normally they will see no need to change the devil they know.
Civic Participation goes a lot farther than voting. I strongly believe in the voice of the people and that doing the right thing is not always easy and efficient. But the right thing is surely what feels good at the end of the day. Iím strongly supportive of neighborhoods voicing their concerns and having their voices give weight in the final decision.
Cambridge Public Schools:
Enough cannot be said about our schools and I think that here in Cambridge we have thought so far out-of-the-box that we can no longer see the proverbial box. Here is what I think. Yes, we have an elected School Board, yes we have a well paid Superintendent of the Schools, and yes we have Principals and Teachers. What we donít have is leadership.
Enough experimenting, enough cherry picking, enough trying to fix in our schools what we canít fix in our neighborhoods. It is time to simply get behind our new Superintendent and set goals, every year out for a five year plan, and then revisit these goals, measure results, analyze trends and make adjustments as needed.
Our parents, teachers, and students should have a clear idea of what our educational goals are in this City. Are we content with being a first rate City in terms of wealth, real-estate, and Bio research and having a third rate public educational school system? This is the fundamental question all voters should ask of all the City Council and School Committee candidates on November 4, 2003.