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Trumbull Behind Local Development

By Frank Dabek

Most of the candidates in this city council election only reinforce the old nickname “People’s Republic of Cambridge,” but David Trumbull’s anti-rent control and pro-development stances give him a lonely position as a conservative among a field of progressive democrats.

The 40-year-old endorsee of the Republican party calls himself a “libertarian type republican” and emphasizes the elimination of so-called “nuisance regulations,” increased public transportation, and property owners’ rights.

Trumbull called the MBTA’s closing time “outrageous ... This is a 24 hour city.” He hopes to use Cambridge’s influence on the MBTA’s governing board to extend the T’s hours to 24 hours a day if possible. If logistical problems prevent 24-hour service, Trumbull proposes a system of late night buses.

The libertarian aspect of Trumbull’s platform is most apparent in his desire to eliminate several “crazy rules we have in Cambridge” which he considers “nuisances.” Trumbull cites a Cambridge regulation requiring a $500 a year poetry permit and a milk license.

The regulations are a “nuisance and drag on business” he said. For example, newspapers in Cambridge are required to pay a fee for their distribution boxes, he said.

Trumbull opposes rent control

Trumbull is strongly opposed to rent control and worked on behalf of the question nine effort which banned rent control statewide several years ago. He believes that “markets work” and that any regulation limiting rents disrupts market forces which allow for incentive to construct new housing and properly maintain existing housing. “Affordable is what people can afford,” he said.

Trumbull is also courting the student vote on the affordable housing issue. Ugliest Manifestation on Campus winner Steven Jens ’98 is helping to coordinate the Trumbull campaign at MIT which will appeal to the “idealistic crowd,” he said.

Jens also thinks that Trumbull’s pro-development stance will resonate with students. “Development generally will help students,” Jens said.

Trumbull favors development

Trumbull said that he is “in favor of responsible development. While acknowledging that Cambridge does not have the same large urban character of Boston, Trumbull criticized the “romantic idea of supporting the local merchants.” Citing a city sponsored survey which showed that residents prefer stores with the characteristics of the GAP and other larger chains, Trumbull said, “I don’t see why officials should second guess people’s preferences.”

He cited East Cambridge as an area which could support more development.

Jens added that “development makes an area safer” and pointed to the improvements in the Kendall square area due to recent construction.

Trumbull emphasized the importance of MIT to Cambridge -- “what would Cambridge be without colleges,” he asked. Given his laissez-faire view of the housing market, Trumbull didn’t stress MIT’s need to construct new residences. “If MIT can’t house it’s people, MIT has a problem.” Trumbull also played down the importance of “in lieu of” tax agreements, comparing them to blackmail.

This election marks Trumbull’s second run for city council. He works in government relations for a textile association and plans to work part-time if elected.