I have lived in the same house for 20 years where I have cared for my elderly father and raised three daughters: Nina, a CRLS and Bowdoin College graduate; Vanessa, a CRLS graduate and student at UMass Boston; and Angela, who is currently a sophomore at Middlesex.
Cambridge is my home and it is a great and unique city, but I know that by working together, we can make it a better place to live, learn, work, and play.
Doctorate in Rehabilitation Counseling, Boston University
Masters of Arts in Education, University of Maryland
Bachelor of Arts in Counseling, Boston University
Highlighted Professional & Community Activities
- Cambridge Go Green Award 2010 Finalist
- 2010 Citizens for Public Schools Award for Fairness and Equity in Public Schools
- 2003 National finalist, American Civil Liberties Union Ira Glasser Racial Justice Fellowship
- Experienced educator and counselor, teaching and coaching locally and also gaining national recognition for role in leading the charge for equity and fairness in education.
- Entrepreneur, founded the first-of-its-kind New England-based human services publication and started two technology related companies.
- Community activist, putting words into action -at 808 Memorial Drive, founded and operated the first free computer lab for residents of subsidized housing.
- Skilled mediator. In 2009 called upon to provide counsel to the administration in the nationally televised Gates-Crowley incident.
- Established innovative "Cartridges for Kids" program-- an ink cartridge recycling program which has donated over $6,000 to Cambridge non-profits and community centers. The program was nominated for 2010 Cambridge GoGreen Award.
- Community leader and facilitator of neighborhood meetings, addressing such issues as North Cambridge crime concerns and talks between Porter Square neighbors and Lesley University officials on rezoning for the Art Institute of Boston
- Volunteer for local organizations. Have provided thousands of hours to Cambridge Youth Soccer, Cambridge Public Schools, Hoops for Health, Cambridge Community Center, homeless shelters and battered women's centers.
Some of the organizations I assist and participate in:
- Elizabeth Peabody House Board Member and Officer
- Cambridge Community Center.
- The W.E.B. Dubois Academy Board Member
- Cambridge Youth Soccer Board Member.
- Elizabeth Peabody House Board Member and Officer
- Salvation Army Advisory Board member
- FOCRL: Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin
- School Improvement Council Member, Graham and Parks
- Pop Warner Football and Cheerleading Advisory Board member
- The Fitness Brothers group, police officers and community activists focusing on health and wellness in Cambridge
- Cambridge Peace Commission
- Board member for TROMP
• Helping young adults develop into tomorrow's leaders
- Keep Cambridge family-friendly by improving the everyday quality of life and providing effective educational opportunities and affordable housing.
- Promote youth employment and training opportunities.
- Lead an effort to ensure higher levels of cooperation between businesses, colleges and universities and the city.
- Develop local public transportation tailored to local needs.
- Foster economic growth that also supports neighborhood and community interests.
- Invest in our schools with a robust budget.
- Oversee after-school programs that deepen and enhance educational opportunities for students, teachers, and families.
Quality of Life and Public Safety
Maintaining the quality of life in Cambridge during these times of economic uncertainty is one of the biggest challenges for the city council. I am committed to keeping Cambridge economically viable for everyone: families, businesses, students, educators, visitors and others. I will work constructively with the city manager, my colleagues, and the superintendent to secure resources to fund important programs. On public safety, I am a strong believer in neighborhood policing, which includes neighbors knowing each other and foot patrol policing. I actively and routinely walk the neighborhoods, checking in on my own neighbors. I have walked the neighborhoods with our public safety officials and have addressed issues of crime and violence.
Traffic, Parking, and Transportation
It would be great if we all depended more on walking, biking, and public transportation. I would like to see a local bus system available throughout Cambridge neighborhoods that would allow more independence for all residents. It could be integrated with the MBTA, but would be based on movement through Cambridge, and not just the MBTA patterns for the greater Boston area. As such, it would be focused on the needs of our citizens. Alexandria, VA, has established a city system that works in conjunction with the Washington, DC Mass Transit system, and we should see if it is possible here. Another option would be to partner with colleges and universities who run underutilized shuttle services for students. This could have a major impact on traffic and pollution, and seniors could remain more independent. In addition, this system would go a long way in terms of reducing parking concerns and short distance driving.
Municipal Finance, City Budget, Assessments, and Property Taxes
While Cambridge has one of the lowest residential tax rates in the Commonwealth, it is a challenge to maintain quality services and reasonable taxes. Given our ability to maintain a AAA bond rating and healthy financial reserves, it can be done, but future needs could stretch our financial resources. We must continue to be a fiscally responsible city.
Government and Elections
History has taught me to support the Plan E Charter. Severe corruption, cronyism, and political patronage characterized the Cambridge government UNTIL the city switched to a Plan E form of government. The Plan E form of government removed the power of a mayoral system that had been serving a select few instead of the city as a whole.
Today, Cambridge is recognized nationally as a well-managed city both from a financial and services perspective. City Manager Bob Healy and his senior management team are most responsible for this outcome.
It's unclear if Mr. Healy will seek to extend his contract. If he does not, the City Council needs to have a thought out action plan. The most important function of the City Council is selecting the city manager, and we must be clear on our priorities and requirements without writing a 100-page job description. The city should hire a search firm with a proven record to assist us with the task of selecting a new city manager. The search firm should select candidates that are competent in all aspects of government and public works, whose experience demonstrates fairness in administering and protecting policies. Candidates should possess management experience in a city of comparable size and demonstrate capability and commitment to managing a diverse and dynamic community. Candidates must have experience directing a substantial budget and the proven ability to assemble and manage a high level talented team.
Land Use, Planning, and Economic Development
Cambridge must balance growth with existing resources. We have to be mindful of maintaining our history while functioning in the 21st century. We are a community first and planning must be done with people in mind, the people who live within our varied neighborhoods. We are also a mixed use city with a robust commercial base that we do not want to lose.
Development in Cambridge should reflect input from the community and neighborhood groups and should follow community standards and zoning of those particular areas. The guiding principle for all residential development is and should be to adhere to current zoning codes. A great deal of planning by many individuals as well as city departments has gone into current zoning layout. Even with that, our process allows for residents to petition to change zoning at any time.
Human Services Programs
Before I joined the City Council, I founded and published Human Services Connection (HSC) magazine, which focused on the human service community. In addition, I organized a human services forum hosted by Michael Dukakis during the 2006 Democratic National Convention. Suffice it to say I am committed to human service programs.
I am proud that Cambridge is a leader in providing human services programs ranging from childcare and after school programs to user-friendly senior centers. We, however, have to constantly evaluate and monitor programs for their effectiveness. As our city changes, so too will the human service program needs. I have spent my adult life focusing on providing quality human services, and I understand fundamentally the costs and benefits of providing high quality service. Additionally, I understand the challenges of seeking and providing services for the elderly from caring for my 93 year old father, who has since passed away.
Open Space, Parks, and Recreation
We are fortunate to live in a city with many quality parks and recreational opportunities. We have to utilize our ingenuity to make sure commercial and residential project designs, especially those of a large nature, are very mindful of open space issues. Given the physical density of our city it is difficult for all of us to balance desires for open space with wanting more affordable housing. We need to find ways to effectively provide both.
Energy, the Environment, and Public Health
The Cambridge Health Alliance was created to provide health care within neighborhoods, and has proven to be a great concept. Lack of city involvement has led to limiting services in certain areas that reduce the quality of life for the very people it was set up to assist. It is time we think about increasing our involvement to ensure quality health services for all.
Regarding the discussion on "affordable housing" I continue to ask the question: Affordable to whom? Cambridge has one of the largest stocks of "affordable housing" in the Commonwealth, yet, we don't have enough housing opportunities for those who want to live in Cambridge, especially for those in the middle class. The inclusionary zone ordinance is an effective way to increase the number of affordable housing units. Essentially, developers must reserve a certain percentage of their units for those with lower and moderate incomes. However, we may need to increase the percentages to increase the number and size of affordable units. We also may need to devise incentive programs that allow homeowners to sell their properties to the diverse population that wants to stay in Cambridge without losing out on market pricing. As a city with a triple A bond rating, we are in a financial position that better allows us to think outside of the box in order to be more inclusive.
Arts and Public Celebrations
Cambridge is noted for its diverse and colorful celebrations. As a city, we should continue to seek out opportunities to bring people together and celebrate!
The universities need the city and they also are good for the city. Our goal should be to increase the connections between both parties in ways that are mutually beneficial. One major concern is to increase the transparency of the relationship between the city and the universities.
As a community, we are responsible for each other. If we want citizens to participate, we need to build in volunteer opportunities beginning when kids enter school and the opportunities and encouragement to volunteer should never stop. We should consider offering a small stipend for serving on certain city boards to be sure that those who want to serve are not excluded because they, for example, can't afford child care. I am strongly in favor of a Martin Luther King day of service and will work to establish such a day.
Cambridge Public Schools
Our youth are the heart and soul of the city. As the debate rages on regarding "closing the achievement gap", the most critical piece to closing the gap is prenatal care and early childhood education. Those issues must be seriously addressed so that students are "ready" to learn. Focusing too much on standardized testing hinders students' abilities to learn and restricts teachers' abilities to teach. I was a statewide coordinator of the Massachusetts Coalition for Authentic Reform in Education and helped organize thousands of parents, teachers, and students throughout the Commonwealth in an ongoing effort to reform MCAS testing and alleviate its most damaging effects. I will continue my efforts to deepen and enhance educational opportunities for students, teachers, and families.
Candidate's 2009 responses Candidate's 2007 responses
CCTV candidate video (2011)