Laurie Taymorberry

Laurie Taymorberry
2003 Candidate for Cambridge City Council

Home address:
164 Pleasant Street
Cambridge, MA 02139

Contact information:
Tel: 617-491-1318

Send contributions to:
Taymorberry Committee
164 Pleasant St.,
Cambridge, MA 02139

I was born in Boston, MA. I grew up in Newton, MA in an activist household. My mother founded the Newton Democratic City Committee in 1952. I began working in grassroots politics for Adlai Stevenson at the age of five, and have continued to work both within the grassroots of the Democratic Party as well as with many other social and economic justice groups and organizations to educate the public and elected officials regarding issues relating to economic insecurity and the growing income disparity between the "haves and have nots". I have a M.Ed. in Human Service Administration, Social Work and Criminal Justice. I worked, for over ten years, in a protective social work and administrative capacity for the State Department of Social Services as well as in Elder Protective Services. My primary work, in Cambridge, has been through the Cambridge Democratic City Committee where I first served as the Chair of the Ward Five Committee in Cambridgeport for five years, Vice Chair of the CDCC and Chair during the last Gubernatorial Election cycle. I began living on Pleasant St. in 1974 where I live with my husband and daughter, who experienced the Cambridge Schools.

I believe that the need to merge many of our elementary schools is due to the mass exodus of low-income and working class families who were unable to remain in Cambridge due to unchecked market rate rents. I believe that the new proposal for rent control should be on the ballot and I will support the outcome of the referendum.

Quality of Life:
I strongly support the truck ban ordinance. There is always new construction in the residential neighborhoods which results in deterioration of air quality and open space, not to mention the noise and vibrations which are felt in many homes adjacent to new construction sites.

Municipal Finance & Government:
I believe that the Mayor should be directly elected and that the City Council should be more accountable to the residents of Cambridge. Having one person serve as City Manager, for over twenty years, has resulted in the City Council being a ceremonial body, rather than taking a stand on issues which concern neighborhoods and residents. Nobody is accountable. Cambridge activists, who advocate for their neighborhoods and the interests of those on the lower end of the economic scale, are rarely appointed to boards and positions within city government. The result has been a lack of interest in municipal government because there is a disconnect between the residents and many of the members who have been appointed, by the City Manager, to the local boards and commissions in the city.

Environment and Public Health:
There are many industrial zones in Cambridge which are sited as toxic waste sites. With all the knowledge available, within the university communities, in regards to ways to resolve the above environmental concern, I believe there could be a great deal more collaboration with the universities in order to address these concerns. For example, MIT is conducting experiments with algae to clean up toxic waste. EPA standards need to be adhered to by developers in building new construction in residential neighborhoods. The need for open space and protection of what little there is left, in Cambridge, should be a priority of the the Planning Board and Zoning Commission.

Land Use, Planning, Development, and Transportation:
I was one of the first ten signers on the Cambridge Residents for Growth Management Petition. As a community activist, I organized a forum, in 1998, at the Pearl St. Library on "Sustainable Economic Development for Central Square". Having served as the liaison for the 28th Middlesex District, I was not in favor of building a market rate housing development in the middle of Central Square at the expense of losing a bustling city block that provided affordable goods and services to the community. Since 1998, all affordable shops, save the Salvation Army thrift store, have been forced to go out of business due to inability to pay the market rate rents for retail property. I believe that the City Council should take more responsibility in ensuring that this trend does not continue in neighborhoods where the residents are dependent on goods and services that do not require transportation out of the city in order to procure basic needs. I believe the City Council should be working to find ways to implement shuttle services in parts of the city that are not near to any public transportation access. I strongly support the Riverside rezoning petition which involved a great deal of input by the Riverside residents. Access to open space and the Charles River should be given greater consideration by the City Council for the residents living in the Riverside neighborhoods.

University Relations:
The tension between the neighborhoods and university expansion is an ongoing struggle. I believe that as long as the City Manager continues to appoint people to boards and commissions, who are in conflict of interest, i.e. employed by the universities, there will continue to be a distrust of the planning boards by the neighborhood residents. It is time that the City Council took the responsibility to scrutinize the appointments made by the City Manager to boards such as the BZA and Planning Board in order to mitigate the tension brought about by the what is perceived by residents as an already "done deal" when it comes to university expansion into the residential neighborhoods.

Civic participation:
As a community activist, I have been a strong proponent of civic participation. Most of my work, in this regard, has been through my activism with the Cambridge Democratic City Committee. In the capacities, in which I have served, I have spent many years organizing and doing outreach to educate the community regarding local, state and national concerns that impact quality of life issues. Fair taxes, MCAS, welfare reform, human rights and job creation are some of the forums I have helped to organize, as well as voter education and registration over the past decade. Most recently, I have been working on legislation for a jobs creation commission at the state level which needs to be implemented at the local level through private/public partnerships. To that end, I have been participating in the planning for the "Buy Cambridge Initiative" which is being spearheaded by Councilor E. Denise Simmons and will take place at MIT on October 22nd. This initiative will enable small businesses, that are owned by minorities and women, to be able to make competitive bids for contracts with multiple Cambridge agencies.

Cambridge Public Schools:
As a parent of a youngster who attended the Cambridge Public Schools, I have experienced the lack of support for children who have special needs at an early age. The School system in Cambridge has been in disarray for many years. There needs to be more attention to "hands on learning". I strongly believe in vocational education which is now being addressed because of the large number of students who requested the opportunity to attend the Minuteman Vocational Training School in Lexington. Cambridge should never have dismantled the Vocational Education component at CRLS. I do not support the MCAS requirements for graduation.

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