Tim Toomey

Tim Toomey
2003 Candidate for Cambridge City Council

Home address:
88 Sixth Street
Cambridge MA 02141

Contact information:
Tel: 617-492-6565
e-mail: timtoomey@aol.com 
website: www.timtoomey.org 

Send contributions to:
The Toomey Committee
88 Sixth Street
Cambridge MA 02141

City Councillor Tim Toomey began his work in government in 1985 when he was elected to the Cambridge School Committee. He served two terms on the School Committee and was elected to the Cambridge City Council in 1989. He is serving his seventh term as a member of the City Council, and is the Chair of the Veteran's Committee and the Claims Committee. Tim is a graduate of Suffolk University and Matignon High School. He has served on the Boards of Directors of several non profit organizations including the East End House and the Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee.

Tim is a strong advocate for the elderly, and a leader in the fight for more open space and affordable housing in our communities. 

Tim has also served the people of Somerville and Cambridge as State Representative since 1992. He helped secure passage of the law that allowed the creation the Cambridge Health Alliance, which has led to improved health services for Somerville and Cambridge residents. He is the Chairman of the Committee on Public Safety, and in this capacity he has fought for and secured grant programs to help the Fire and Police Departments in Somerville and Cambridge and across the state. He has also advocated for local control of speed limits, increased child passenger safety, and for the right of victims of violent crimes to testify at Parole Board hearings. 

Tim is a past member of the Joint Committees on Health Care, Housing and Community Development, Government Regulations, State Administration and The Judiciary. He has served as Vice-Chairman of the Joint Committee on Education and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Special Education. In January of 1997, he was appointed to the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Service. This committee reviews all matters related to state and municipal employees, public retirement systems, civil service and collective bargaining. In his first act in that position, Tim authored and sponsored Chapter 17 of the Acts of 1997, the legislation guaranteeing cost of living adjustments for all government retirees in the Commonwealth.

I have voted every year in support of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund which has so far leveraged $200 million affordable housing investments. I also voted in favor of the Community Preservation Act and the allocation of 80% of these funds to affordable housing. In addition, I have supported changes in zoning to allow for the construction of housing in what were previously zoned for industrial use as well as the requirement for inclusionary zoning which has already created 139 units of affordable housing with more to come. I strongly believe that these are the best responses we currently have to preserve the unique character of Cambridge neighborhoods. I will continue to support creative solutions to the difficult problems of providing affordable housing in this City such as the proposal to expand the eligibility requirement for affordable housing to residents of moderate income. The current ballot question on rent control is not the solution.

Quality of Life:
More than anything else, the quality of life effects a person's decision on where to live. Streets must be safe, parks and playgrounds clean, and support for neighborhood initiatives promoted.

I am a strong supporter of community policing which needs to be revitalized in Cambridge. Speed limits on residential streets must be reduced to 25 MPH, as allowed by a proposed law I am co-sponsoring. I also support the installation of cameras at certain dangerous intersections to enhance pedestrian safety. I addition, the substance of the night time truck ban must be maintained in any resolution of this matter with the State.

I believe that maximizing the use of, and properly maintaining, what little open space we have in Cambridge is as important as obtaining additional open space. Initiatives such as lighting the track and field facility at Danehy Park and renovating Donnelly Field have been critical to this goal. To keep residents active in this process, I have proposed that a master list of park renovations along with a report card on the conditions of all parks and tot lots in the City be maintained on the City's website with the ability for the public to comment and rate conditions themselves.

I also believe that the City should do as much as possible to assist and promote the large number and variety of festivals organized by residents of Cambridge. These festivals are a great way to introduce our new neighbors to life long residents. I also believe that the Cambridge Common should be better utilized to include activities such as dramatic presentations, poetry readings or exhibitions by local artists.

Municipal Finance & Government:
The last two years have been difficult for many, as the economy has tumbled and households have had to tighten their budgets. In these troubled times, every family has had to prioritize and make choices about what is important. As a result of many of the excellent choices made by the City Council during good times, Cambridge is one of the few cities that can weather this downturn without major cutbacks in services you deserve and expect. During the good times, I advocated for the City to keep it simple: to maintain its commitment to affordable housing, to provide more open space in East Cambridge, to ensure neighborhood safety, to promote responsible and thoughtful development, and to provide more efficient delivery of City services. I fought hard for the City to spend wisely on core services during good times, and now we are able to maintain these services during bad times.

The residential homeowners of Cambridge won a major victory over Governor Mitt Romney when, through my efforts, the Massachusetts House and Senate recently passed, then overrode the Governor's veto of, Cambridge's home rule petition to increase the residential property tax exemption from 20% to 30%. This will save the average homeowner $329 per year in owner-occupied residential property taxes. 

Finally, I have been an active sponsor of increasing the ability of the public to interface with local government through its website. I have been the first to sponsor many e-government initiatives such as allowing residents to use the City's website to pay certain fees, requiring the Election Commission to post campaign finance reports online, as well as providing the City's ethics forms available online. I will continue my fight to have the City provide Council meetings (and eventually the meetings of all public boards and commissions) on streaming video.

Environment and Public Health:
As an avid recycler, I am a firm believer that every attempt at new construction or renovation, environmentally friendly products and technologies should be used, as they can represent a small fraction of overall construction costs. With the different municipal fleets, I wholeheartedly support, where possible, the switch to zero emission and low speed vehicles; especially with the delivery of City services that necessitate a regular travel route. With larger transport vehicles, I support the purchase of more fuel-efficient and cleaner burning vehicles. To ensure that these goals are met, I would work with the City Manager's office and other departments to arrive at a timetable when a certain percentage of purchases, services delivery, and municipal assets meet these environmental guidelines at a reasonable cost to the city. I would then file a City Council order that sets a firm deadline for departments to meet these goals.

I firmly believe in bonding for providing open space, requiring developers to either fund or construct a significant amount of useable open space as part of any proposal, or allocating funds as part of the budget process for creating open space. I was the only City Councilor to propose and advocate through bonding the taking, by eminent domain, 10 acres of then abandoned and unused land in East Cambridge to be utilized to create a reservation similar to the Fresh Pond Park in West Cambridge. Not only would this have provided much needed open space in the most congested part of the City, it would have prevented the massive Lyme Properties development currently being built on that site.

I support airport shuttle vans, private shuttles, business shuttles, etc., anything that takes 10 or 20 drivers and their cars off the road and puts them into one van. There are just too many good economic, public safety, environmental, and public health reasons to ignore this alternative means of transportation .

I fully support that all new municipal construction utilize green technologies. I supported the creation of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, which takes funding from a small surcharge on energy bills and hands out awards for Green Buildings, Green Schools, and Green Power initiatives. Through this innovative program, the state provides matching funds to private and public projects to encourage the use of green materials and technologies. As State Representative I secured $630,000 from the Commonwealth's Green School's initiative to install solar panels, a wind turbine demonstration project, classroom skylights and other cutting edge environmental design strategies for Somerville's new Edgerly Early Childhood Development Center which was recently opened in the district I represent.

I believe Alewife Brook Parkway should not be a site for Combined Sewer Overflow. I would tap in to the vast engineering and public health expertise residing in the City, at its universities and businesses, to come up with a creative solution to this vexing pollution problem.

Land Use, Planning, Development, and Transportation:
I support the reasonable requests by residents to protect their neighborhoods from large developments. I support the efforts of the residents of Riverside to maintain the character of their neighborhood from encroachment by Harvard University through the Carlson Petition.

I support ideas to resolve land use mistakes of the past such as in Kendall Square by supporting the acquisition of land adjacent to the Volpe Center for residential and open space.

The most pressing transportation concern is the voluminous amount of traffic passing through residential areas. That is why I am a supporter of a city-run shuttle service that serves the entire city. I also support the "Urban Ring" proposal to connect the core of the Boston area from Columbia Point through Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Everett. Additionally, I have supported the requirement that developers must go through a project review that considers the traffic impact of a project, and requires developers to put in place measures to encourage ride sharing, the use of mass-transit, and bicycling as alternative means of commuting.

University Relations:
It is time for a paradigm shift. Throughout our history, these large institutions have been considered not-for-profit organizations. Its time to recognize them as the big businesses that they really are. We must require them to pay their fair share for the City services they use while protecting those organizations that are in fact and deed providing charitable services.

The salaries and benefits paid by these institutions to top management would be the envy of many businesses in the country. Harvard University's recent announcement that its $19.3 billion endowment grew by 12.5% despite a difficult economy is telling. It also offers a potential. Requiring these institution to set aside 1% of the earnings on these endowments to a fund for distribution to communities in which tax exempt property is located would, in Harvard's case this year, have provided over $24-million to effected communities.

This will not be easy nor will it occur overnight. It will require not only a change in Federal and State laws, but also amendments to the Constitution. It has been done before - slavery was eliminated, the right of women to vote was accepted, and, most recently, the legal rights of gay and lesbian individuals are being recognized. It is a process that must begin now and which I am currently reviewing.

Civic participation:
Cambridge is blessed with a long history of community service by a wealth of talented residents. Unfortunately, many boards require that its members put in long hours. This often limits the ability of members of working families with children to offer their services and skews the composition of these boards. And while we tend to choose people with professional experience for particular boards, we should not overlook community involvement and common sense. We should also consider the possibility of stipends for members and other creative solutions such as childcare for members. I also believe that the meetings of all boards be televised to open up the process.

Cambridge Public Schools:
I believe drastic changes are needed to improve the education of Cambridge school children. Despite one of the highest per capita spending amounts in the State, Cambridge students' test scores rank among the lowest in the State. I believe one of the reasons for this has been the unequal distribution of resources so that students who need the most help are not getting it. In fact, I have voted against school budgets to express my dissatisfaction. However, with the appointment of a new Superintendent, I am cautiously optimistic that the opportunity now exists to make the changes necessary to finally support all our students.

I choose to run for office to do what I love: helping the hard working families of Cambridge secure a better quality of life. Whether it is putting up stop signs at dangerous intersections, fixing potholes and streetlights, ensuring that the City budget provides for additional police officers, or working with neighborhood families to ensure that they were heard during the school consolidation process, I treat every constituent issue with the same commitment and determination to make Cambridge better for all that live here. No issue is too small to be overlooked, or too big to tackle. You expect and deserve the best, and I put my best into everything I do.

It is an honor and privilege to serve as your City Councillor. I am prepared to continue to provide the leadership to face the challenges of our diverse and ever-changing City. But the important things never change: hard work, persistence, and a commitment to the values of community and family that make Cambridge such a wonderful place to live. I have worked to provide you with 21st century leadership and old-fashioned commitment.

So as you review the candidates and the issues, I believe that if you are looking for someone who gets the job done, for someone to fight for your concerns, and for someone who cares deeply about the future of Cambridge, the choice is clear. With your help, and your #1 Vote on Election Day, November 4, 2003, I look forward to continuing my work making Cambridge an even better place to live.

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