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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.
Quality of Life:
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 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:
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 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.
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.
Cambridge Public Schools:
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.