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Snowberg Campaign Gets Nod from CCA

By Laura McGrath Moulton

Erik C. Snowberg ’99 received a boost to his campaign when the Cambridge Civic Association endorsed him for Cambridge City Councillor on Friday. The CCA also endorsed four other candidates for the nine council openings.

“I’m very excited about it,” said Snowberg, whose campaign has focused on involving students in local politics. “I’m running not only to represent students, but also to cover the common ground between students and the community and find positive solutions.”

Vice President Geneva Malenfant of the CCA said that the organization looks for that sort of goal in choosing which candidates to endorse.

“We want someone who can demonstrate they have worked on some issue or achieved some goal through a positive building exercise” rather than someone with “no history or a destructive history,” Malenfant said.

She said that Snowberg’s involvement with the Cambridge community as a whole beyond MIT led the CCA to overlook his relative youth and lack of experience.

Cambridge Mayor Francis H. Duehay said that “there is nothing about being a student that would disqualify” Snowberg from serving on the council. Being a student could be considered an asset in a city with a high student population, he said.

Duehay said that the CCA endorsement “will be helpful but will not be decisive.” He said that being part of a slate such as the group of candidates endorsed by the CCA is important but that a winning candidate “has to have a well organized campaign that will assure him a large number of number one votes.”

“It helps to legitimize the campaign,” said Eric J. Plosky ’99, Snowberg’s campaign manager. “Cambridge is a place where politics is very personal, not casual. It’s taken very seriously.”

Snowberg one of five endorsed

According to an August 20 press release sent by CCA President Ken Carson, “all candidates have stated their support for the CCA platforms..., and each brings qualities, experience, and a record of civic participation which demonstrates that they would be excellent elected officials serving Cambridge.”

Henrietta Davis, another candidate who received the CCA endorsement, said that “the organization is dedicated to good government, and the endorsement is sort of a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.” It shows “that you are in support of good government... and certain other principles such as affordable housing, support of public schools, responsible city planning, and harmony and justice in the city,” Davis said.

“The endorsement is helpful to voters,” said Malenfant. “Of course, it goes both ways,” she said, noting that some voters disapprove of the CCA’s views.

The CCA endorsed five of the twenty candidates running for nine city council slots this fall. Because of the resignation of Duehay, now Mayor, and Sheila Russell, there is a guarantee that at least two non-incumbents will be elected.

The other endorsed candidates are incumbents Kathy Born and Henrietta Davis, and non-incumbents Jim Braude and Robert Winters.

Platform includes transportation

Snowberg graduated with an S.B. in mathematics in June but will remain at MIT for the fall semester to complete two more undergraduate majors, in physics and earth and planetary sciences, and also an economics minor. Snowberg is also a memeber of The Tech staff.

In addition to improving the relationship between students and other members of the Cambridge community, Snowberg’s platform also includes better late-night and weekend transportation service, increased access to transportation alternatives, expanded parks and open space, additional affordable housing, and using the Internet to keep Cambridge government in touch with citizens.

“He seems to be interested in some of the same things I am, and I look forward to meeting him,” said Davis. “There’s nothing that says a student couldn’t be an active member of the council.”

The CCA was founded 54 years ago in the wake of a corruption scandal that ended with the mayor in prison. The association is dedicated to being a watchdog that supports “honesty and open process in government,” Malenfant said.

Frank Dabek contributed to the reporting of this story.