The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 73.0°F | Light Rain

Two Parties Face Off in Cambridge Elections

By Jennifer Lane
Associate News Editor

Cambridge will hold city elections next Tuesday, offering Cambridge voters the chance to speak out on issues ranging from parental choice in schools to city-wide hiring practices.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; voters may cast their ballots in the Johnson Athletic Center, among other places.

Elections follow a system of proportional representation, allowing voters to rank as many candidates as they would like. In recent years, elections have pitted candidates from two local political groups, the Alliance for Change and the Cambridge Civic Association.

MIT grad up for City Council

Kathleen L. Born MArch '77 is running as an incumbent for a seat on the Cambridge City Council, and has been endorsed by the Cambridge Civic Association.

Born believes that during her time at the Institute she "became committed to issues of good urban design and planning," she said. "In the architecture department in the 70s, social activism was synonymous with architecture and planning."

Born is basing her campaign on affordable housing, truck traffic, and preservation of historic sites, an area in which she has a strong academic background.

Like the CCA, Born strongly opposes a residency requirement for city employees. "Idon't think the city needs to regulate where people put their head on their pillow at night... that's just another rule that we don't need."

Hiring, school choice key concerns

In line with the CCA platform, Born wrote the council order requiring an open search to fill city positions. "I will stick by my guns on this one," she said. "We need to have professional management."

The CCA believes the key issue in this election is patronage appointments - "how jobs are filled with the city whether it is a patronage procedure going by who you know, or if people are hired based solely on their ability," said Geneva Malenfant, CCA president.

Cambridge will be hiring a new police commissioner, and the CCA would like to see a search carried out in order to select and hire the best person for the job instead of simply promoting an officer up through the ranks, Malenfant said.

Other points of the CCA's 1995 election platform include a student-oriented school system, affirmative action in hiring, affordable housing for all income levels, improved productivity of city departments, and beneficial growth through partnerships with business, institutions and community.

The CCA was founded in 1945 in reaction to a then-extremely corrupt city government. The CCA prides itself in promoting progressive views, and the fact that the first women, blacks, and gays to be elected to office were endorsed by the CCA.

Alliance promotes budget scrutiny

CCA candidates are not voters' only choice. Electing Alliance for Change candidates will be "more likely to lead to a reduction in the budget," said Ed O'Connell, president of the Alliance for Change, in an article in the Cambridge Chronicle.

Alliance candidates have come out against taxpayer support for the Cambridge Hospital.

The Alliance platform includes: working with law enforcement bodies to insure the safety of Cambridge neighborhoods, creating jobs and enhancing revenue, scrutinizing the city's budget, developing programs to provide housing opportunities for Cantabridgians, ensuring equal access to all schools for parents, emphasizing hiring practices in city government that encourages all Cambridge residents to apply, and conducting an external audit of the school administration.

The Alliance is focused on ensuring that Cambridge residents have a say in their government. They aim to respect the views of all Cambridge residents and build the future of Cambridge upon that understanding.

The Alliance for Change began in 1993 in order to challenge the Cambridge Civic Association's control over local government. The Alliance aims not to outline a platform and force its candidates to endorse it, but to develop a platform indicating places of common understanding amongst candidates and citizens.