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Upcoming Elections for City Council Affect MIT Students

By Susan Buchman
Staff Reporter

Cambridge City Council elections will take place next Tuesday; several candidates have connections to MIT and the platforms of others directly affect the Institute and students. Registered students residing in Cambridge are eligible to vote.

A brief description of several city council candidates and dominant issues in the race follows.

Kathy L. Born '77 is running her re-election campaign on the theme "Common Sense for Cambridge." Born, currently the Vice-mayor of Cambridge, cited increasing affordable housing as an important step towards the goal of preserving the city's diversity of income and race.

She has worked to have "Stop for Pedestrians" signs and bicycle lanes installed to protect pedestrians and cyclists. Born also said that she is a believer in fresh ideas and will take the concerns of students seriously.

Frank Duehay has regularly had MIT students involved in his campaigns. In addition, he also serves on the board of Tutoring Plus, a tutoring program partially funded by MIT. Duehay has lobbied Washington for increased student aid and funding for university research. The former mayor and school board member said that the best place to start on today's challenging issues is in the community one inhabits.

Gentrification an issue

Several candidates have responded to environmental issues and to the threat of gentrification in Cambridge and Central Square in particular.

Roger Frymire has a self-described green' agenda. He has worked to combat the dumping of sewage into the Charles River, and he said he hopes that Magazine Beach will one day be swimmable.

Responding to recent building trends, Frymire said he believes that new housing should take precedence over the construction of office towers. In addition, he is in favor of a river front park at MIT similar to Riverbend Park near Harvard University.

Frymire said he favors campaign finance reform and term limits, and he has promised to spend only his money on his campaign. He urged students to realize that they can take a majority on the council.

Another candidate concerned with the environment, Henrietta Davis, has advocated preserving the riverfront and the quality of water in the Charles River. She founded the group Friends of Magazine Beach to pursue those goals. Affordable housing, control of development, support for schools and families, and control of traffic and transportation are the main issues facing Cambridge, she said.

Davis said she will push for increased MBTA service and that she was in favor of the supermarket soon to open in University Park that will serve MIT students.

Responding to concerns of gentrification in Cambridge, candidate Katherine Triantafillou said she hopes to preserve affordable housing and create 2,000 new homes by the year 2007. She is a proponent of managed growth that will fuel the economic base without overwhelming neighborhoods.

The council should hire a skilled city manager to take Cambridge into the next century, she said.

MacKinnon to donate salary

Ian MacKinnon wishes to make Cambridge an arts-friendly city. He advocates more grants for lesser known artists and affordable studio spaces, the current lack of which is driving artists from the city, he said. He also wants to create a weekly forum for performers and artists.

MacKinnon promises to donate half his salary ($41,000 over a two year term) to community-oriented grants. In addition, he also supports the diversity of Cambridge and vows to fight gentrification.

Tim Toomey focuses on keeping working families and senior citizens in Cambridge, but praises student activism and invites students to become involved in Cambridge politics. He has struggled to keep Cambridge an affordable city and emphasizes that neighborhoods should have input into the development in their area.

The neglect of people's interests and family concerns, such as the loss of rent control, has spurred Douglas G. Whitlow's move into politics. Whitlow will work to set rent caps and prevent the eviction of the disadvantaged.

He is opposed to the alteration of Central Square and sees no need for a Barnes and Noble bookstore there. He calls for a revival of spiritual values in politics and will fight any attitude of indifference toward the poor and powerless.

Remaining candidates could not be reached for comment.