Brian Murphy
2003 Candidate for Cambridge City Council

Home address:
22 Mt. Auburn Street
Cambridge MA 02138

Contact information:
Telephone (617) 492-7426

Send contributions to:
Friends of Brian Murphy
P.O. Box 380424
Cambridge, MA 02238

Over the past two years Brian Murphy has been listening to the concerns of Cambridge residents. Chances are Brian has worked on an issue of concern to you. Not only has Brian brought these issues to City Hall, he has produced results for Cambridge. From development to the environment, university relations to the arts, Brian Murphy has been a progressive voice for the people of Cambridge, committed to results.

A pragmatic progressive, City Councillor Brian Murphy is also an attorney, a community activist, and a proud parent. Brian Murphy led the charge in the Cambridge City Council to ban smoking in restaurants and bars, making Cambridge an example for other cities in the Greater Boston area. He has been a leader of progressive causes locally and nationally, speaking out against the USA Patriot Act on national TV and radio, advocating for stronger gun control laws and to update the Massachusetts Bottle Bill. A graduate of Harvard and the University of Chicago Law School, Brian and his wife Kate Champion Murphy have been active members of our community for nearly 20 years. Brian and Kate have two children, Molly and Joseph.

Brian is a Member of: Cambridge Democratic City Committee, ACLU/Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, The Sierra Club, Amnesty International, CPPAX, MassPIRG, MassBike

The price of housing in Cambridge has skyrocketed. Our city's shrinking base of affordable housing units can no longer meet the demand of the working and middle class families who help define, support and stabilize Cambridge life. Our housing problem has become a housing emergency. Brian has helped ensure that the city meets its obligation to diversity by voting to allocate the maximum 80 percent of Community Preservation Funds - over $19 million - for affordable housing. Brian is also working to strengthen the city's linkage and inclusionary zoning ordinances to build more affordable units, as well as to increase grant and loan initiatives for middle income homebuyers.

Quality of Life:
The Arts – Cambridge wouldn't be Cambridge without its artists. But in times of tight budgets, governments often make their first and deepest cuts in funding for the arts. From an economic standpoint, this can be a misguided strategy. As Richard Florida has noted in The Rise of the Creative Class, diversity, tolerance and a thriving arts community are all important elements in assuring that a community thrives and prospers. As artists begin to get priced out of living, studio and gallery space, we are in danger of losing an important part of what makes Cambridge special. The arts deserve our support on their own merits and as an expression of our civic ideal. Yet we should not lose sight of the value they add to our city's economic life. To that end, Brian will be working this fall to review the results of an artists' survey and to explore ways for the city to address their concerns.

Municipal Finance & Government:
Financial Management – As Chair of the Finance Committee, Brian directs the City's budget process. Despite state budget cuts of over $4 million, Cambridge has managed to balance its budget without devastating cuts that are facing most communities in Massachusetts, and with only a modest increase in the property tax rate. Brian is leading the effort to keep Cambridge financially strong so we can continue to deliver the services we need. Today, Cambridge is one of the only cities in Massachusetts to still have significant cash reserves and room under the property tax levy limit.

Environment and Public Health:
Even faced with mounting evidence of links between environmental degradation and human health, federal and state agencies are currently diluting environmental protections. Given the federal government's failure to address toxic and carcinogenic diesel emissions, Brian has taken on a leadership role in Cambridge's Climate Protection plan. He will soon be introducing legislation to severely restrict city purchases and leases of diesel buses. Through his service on the Council's Health and Environment Committee, Brian has also worked with Harvard, MIT and the city on ways to increase recycling rates and, in public testimony, he has challenged the state legislature to expand the bottle bill so that it includes bottled water and similar products that enjoy outmoded exemptions.

Smoking Ban Solution – Brian's leadership has led to a smoking ban that will go into effect in Cambridge on October 1st. A strong supporter of smoking control efforts, Brian recognized that early versions of the smoking ban proposal lacked the votes needed for passage by the City Council. As co-chair of the Ordinance Committee, Brian was able to work with proponents, opponents, and fellow Councillors to hammer out a workable solution. It took patience, energy and creativity, but Brian's hard work means that Cambridge's bars and restaurants will soon be smoke-free.

Land Use, Planning, Development, and Transportation:
Open Space – Cambridge has more people per square inch than all but six American cities. With so little shared open space, we need to be fiercely vigilant to protect our remaining open space from development and its side effects. To keep the Romney administration from selling precious community resources to the highest bidder, Brian has co-sponsored a resolution rezoning all former MDC land to open space. As co-chair of the Ordinance committee, Brian will make sure that the City extends zoning protections to such areas as the Alewife reservation and the banks of the Charles River.

Truck Enforcement – For years, the intended benefits of Cambridge's 1999 truck traffic ordinance have been stymied by bureaucracy and political red tape. Despite their promises, Mass Highway and other state agencies have failed to cooperate in forging a regional solution. Last fall, Brian sponsored an order to move forward on truck enforcement, and won agreement from the City Manager to implement and enforce the Cambridge portions of the regional truck study. Mass Highway has subsequently threatened to sue the city and take away all federal and state transportation funds. While enforcement is temporarily delayed pending negotiations, Brian will continue to fight to ensure that Cambridge will have a nighttime ban on trucks on most Cambridge streets.

University Relations:
Brian knows that Harvard, MIT, Lesley, and Cambridge College help define Cambridge as a unique, sophisticated, and richly diverse community, but that institutional expansion can undermine the character and livability of our neighborhoods. Our universities need to remember that the vitality and excitement of Cambridge contribute significantly to their ability to attract students and faculty. Cambridge's residents and workers share a common stake in assuring that university expansion does not overrun our community nor destroy the character of our neighborhoods.

Brian is working with colleges and universities to develop tangible, lasting community benefits whenever they expand their presence. These include meaningful public open space; affordable- and moderate- income housing for community members; restrictions on density, height and use of new buildings; and, of course, traffic and parking policies that are sensitive to neighborhood concerns.

University relations are almost always going to be contentious around issues of land use and taxation. The city should also look to other areas where cooperation is easier but can yield significant benefits for the community. As a member of the University Relations committee, Brian has worked to find areas of potential collaboration such as schools, the environment and affordable housing.

Civic participation:
In his book “Bowling Alone,” Robert Putnam noted the fraying of our social fabric as Americans belong to fewer organizations and are increasingly disconnected from their families, neighbors and communities. Cambridge is not immune from this phenomenon, but we must strive to resist and reverse this trend. Neighbors need to get to know neighbors, and neighborhood block parties help. We should continue and expand mini grants for residents who are willing to organize these block parties. Community wide events like the Cambridge Dance Party in front of City Hall and Danehy Park Family Day also help to bring residents together.

We also need to support individuals willing to volunteer on city boards and commissions. The city needs to do better filling vacancies on boards and commissions and informing residents of openings as well as the process and timetable for filling vacancies. In the term ahead, Brian will seek ways to streamline that process.

Cambridge Public Schools:
Cambridge spends more per pupil than any other school district in the state, yet we have work to do to ensure that our results reflect that effort and investment. The City Council must play a role in insuring that the Cambridge's education dollars are being spent on teaching our students not sucked away by inefficiencies in the system. In addition to serving as a watchdog on education spending, Brian been working with the Council's University Relations committee to engage Harvard, Lesley and MIT on finding new ways to make positive contributions to our schools. Brian will continue to work to support the school committee and newly appointed Superintendent Thomas Fowler-Finn in their effort to address the achievement gap.

Civil Liberties and Human Rights – For decades, Cambridge has acted as America's conscience, helping to set a national standard for social and economic justice, protection for the rights of women, minorities, the disabled and the GLBT community and for the recognition and celebration of diversity as a positive force in community life. As a proud upholder of this remarkable tradition, Brian has taken a leading role in opposing the USA Patriot Act, and has even appeared on the archconservative TV program, The O'Reilly Factor, to defend Cambridge's support of civil liberties. He has cosponsored an order supporting the right of gays and lesbians to marry, and is working with the Lavender Alliance to find a way to restore domestic partnership benefits to municipal employees.

Consumer Protection – While sometimes unglamorous, consumer issues have a powerful impact on our daily lives. Brian was the only elected official in Massachusetts to testify against so-called "credit scoring" in insurance rate setting, a proposal that discriminated against minorities, women and low-income workers. He spoke out at a rally opposing a proposed 25% increase in MBTA fares that would harm the environment by discouraging the use of public transit and would place new burdens on our city's least affluent citizens. Brian also made sure that Cambridge linked its official Internet homepage to the national "do not call" registry, thus making it easier for residents to avoid telemarketing.

Endorsements – Boston NOW (PAC);  Cambridge Civic Association;  Cambridge Lavender Alliance;  The Sierra Club;  Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen Local #3;  Building and Construction Trades Council;  Carpenters Union Local #40;  Greater Boston Labor Council, AFL-CIO;  Laborers' International Union Local #151;  Sheet Metal Workers Local #17;  Plumbers and Gasfitters Local #12;  IBEW, Local 103;  IBEW, Local 2222;  Painters Union Local #35

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