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DeBergalis Pushes Bikes, Housing

Asked about his campaign issues, Matthew S. DeBergalis ’99 mentions bicycle safety first. He favors a “give and take on both sides.” Bikers would be required to display a rear light (only a front-facing light is currently required; cyclists may display a light or reflector on the rear of the bike) while enforcement of cars in bicycle lanes would be stepped up.

Affordable housing is a perpetual and ubiquitous issue in recent council campaigns, but DeBergalis takes a unique view as a recent student. “It’s a shame for both Cambridge and MIT” that the Institute charges near market rates for graduate housing, he said. The city should push MIT to lower the cost of graduate housing, he said.

DeBergalis also hopes to influence the Cambridge Licensing Commission, which in recent years has made its influence felt at fraternities and other MIT living groups by meting out what many consider to be harsh punishments following infractions. Kappa Sigma’s housing license was suspended for 30 days during rush in 2000 following an alcohol incident. While DeBergalis said that he doesn’t “disagree with most of what [the CLC has] done,” students currently don’t have any influence on the licensing process, he said. Having a student on the council would make students a “legitimate participant,” he said.

DeBergalis’ campaign strategy is aimed at bringing students to the polls in large numbers. The campaign plans to assign workers to each living group at MIT and Harvard to register voters and encourage them to come to the polls on election day, he said.

While DeBergalis is focused on students, he hopes to be “viewed by the other eight [councillors] as a legitimate councillor.” I “want to be considered a Cantabrigian,” he said. DeBergalis owns his house in Cambridgeport and has lived in Cambridge since 1999 off-campus, or, as he said, in a “civilian facility.”