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Elections start next week

Tuesday, Nov. 8 marks election day in Cambridge. Eighteen City Council candidates, including all nine incumbents, are running for one of the nine two-year seats.

Many candidates this year are focusing on the development of Kendall Square. Candidate Charles Marquardt said that Kendall has been termed by many as the most innovative square mile on Earth, due to the number of biotech companies that have moved in. The MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCo), which owns most of the remaining undeveloped land, has plans underway to encourage future growth in Kendall Square over the next 20 years. Many candidates want MITIMCo to remember the needs and well-being of the students and residents living in the area.

Relations between MITIMCo and the Council have not always been smooth. Last October, councilor Kenneth E. Reeves wrote a letter to President Susan J. Hockfield asking for the removal of MITIMCo’s head of real estate over disagreements about how MITIMCo is maintaining the properties that it owns.

As in previous years, the candidates highlight safety, environmental awareness, economic health, and public education as the main issues they will be tackling in the upcoming term. Although many of the same issues exist now, candidates are proposing alternative strategies to tackle them. Candidate James Williamson, for instance, plans to approach sidewalk and crossroad safety by improving and sustaining the enforcement of the Cambridge Bicycle Ordinance and the Massachusetts General Laws. Newcomer candidate Minka vanBeuzekom wants to encourage business growth, but is against over-commercialization — especially near residential buildings in less densely populated areas like Lechmere and the Alewife Overlay District.

The following table is not complete — it only includes the candidates who responded to Tech inquiries before Monday. Friday’s issue will include the remaining ten candidates. For more information on the candidates, visit http://vote.rwinters.com/

The following is a summary of candidates’ key stances, with an emphasis on policy affecting MIT and its students. Several candidates are not included here and will be represented in a follow-up in Friday’s edition of The Tech.

Candidate

Top three priorities

Background

MIT/Cambridge relations

Students Need

Henrietta Davis

Healthier Children: Better physical education and food in schools. Better parks and playgrounds for children.

Better serivces for seniors: More housing options.

Environmental initiatives: Greener transportation options, energy-efficient buildings, planning for climate change, locally sustainable food.

Eight terms on City Council


2010–2011 Vice Mayor


Chair of Council Environmental Committee

Enjoys working with MIT on environmental and energy matters.

More housing options, especially for graduate students.

An increase in housing development in Kendall Square area.

Minka 
vanBeuzekom

Public schools: Improve education by targeting early childhood and adult education programs in schools.
Environmentalism and urban living: Encourage commerce growth; increase city growth while paying attention to overpopulation and overbuilding in places like Kendall, Lechmere, Alewife Overlay.

Increase innovation in Cambridge government: Function with the best practice.

Epidemiologist with a background in public health. 


Owner of small biotech company in Cambridge in the ’90s. 


Involved in many environmental and community activist groups, including Green Decade Cambridge and Area Four Neighborhood Coalition Leader.

Believes there should be a distinction between MIT, the university, and MIT, the investment corporation.

Takes the stance that the MIT Investment Management Company is not taking its full share of consequences — while developing Kendall, for example, it should invest in more than just the corporate sector.

Pedestrian and bike safety

Sufficient housing

Improved nightlife, including longer businesses hours

Larry Ward

Working with young adults ages 18–24: Provide training and employment opportunities.

Focus on good governance: Better communication between residents, including MIT students, and the city.

Keep Cambridge family-friendly: Affordable housing, effective education.

Former Chairperson of City of Cambridge’s University Relations Committee.

Has experience working with MIT and students. 


Has lived in Cambridge for 25 years.

Hopes to bridge gap between students and the city.

Aims to help students utilize the city better: MIT students have a lot to offer and can, for example, be mentors for younger students.

Improved nightlife

Pedestrian and bike safety

Tom 
Stohlman ’76

Zoning and development of Kendall Square: Work with MIT Investment Management Company, which owns a large part of the last undeveloped zones.

City Manager’s contract: Expires in 2012 and currently under automatic renewal; Stohlman hopes to spur discussion about new options for the contract.

Pedestrian safety: Sidewalk/street repair.

Attended MIT in ’70s (Courses 4 and 10) and has since seen the progression of the Institute.

Returned to Cambridge 11 years ago.

Consults/advises several fraternities and sororities; sees undergraduates a lot.

Believes that councillors perceive MIT and Harvard too negatively. He thinks the councilors should be more positive about what MIT does for Cambridge, including the commercially strong tax base that the MIT Investment Management Company generates.

Keeping neighborhoods and bicycle paths safe.

Charles 
Marquardt

Preparing Cambridge for next generation of administrative leadership: City manager might retire after his 30 year term; assure all transitions are concise and well thought-out, and knowledge is retained in transitions.

Sustainable and strategic development: While much innovation is occurring, keep Cambridge’s “small-town” feeling.

Opportunities for working middle-class: Cambridge is slowly becoming a community of the very wealthy and the very poor.

Diverse background, worked in private sector for many differently-sized companies.

Grew up working in Cambridge.

Dealt with different levels of Cambridge Board as community member and business owner.

Believes the interaction between the MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCo) and Cambridge City Council hasn’t been stable. He believes MITIMCo hasn’t done a good job of making Kendall and Central Squares publicly appealing.

Increase in on-campus housing, especially for grad students

Pedestrian and bike safety

Matt Nelson

Preserving economic diversity: Improve education and housing policies so Cambridge doesn’t become a city of the rich and the poor.

Cambridge youth: Emphasize learning and increase educational opportunities outside of the classroom.

Driver, pedestrian, and especially biker safety: There is no good system for bikes to get around the city.

Cambridge native

Appreciates Cambridge’s history and vision for future

State coordinator of Massachusetts Environmental Voters Education Fund

Believes that Cambridge has been lucky to have MIT and the technical innovation it has brought to the city.

Wants to see students get more involved, especially as mentors for younger students in the city.

Improve Cambridge to be a safer and more comfortable city.

Affordable housing.

James 
Williamson

Pedestrian Safety: Improve and sustain real enforcement by the CPD of the largely unknown Cambridge Bicycle Ordinance and the Mass. General Laws.

Major improvement of public transportation in Cambridge: Will insist on better and more timely and accurate information from the T.

Participatory budgeting: Cambridge citizens have say in part of the budget; shift the government so it is more “bottom-up”, versus “top-down.” Greater community consultation over important decisions.

Has lived in Cambridge for forty years.

Long-time Council activist.

Committed to protecting integrity and human diversity in the city.

Believes that the MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCo) is too commercially oriented.

Thinks that MITIMCo should better reflect academic and residential needs of the students.

Make MIT resources more widely and publicly available.

“I’m not going to tell them what they want — they should tell me!”

Leland 
Cheung G

City Manager: Contract renewal in March 2012.

Activism: Ensure that progressive legislation is being passed.

Council transparency: Online tools to understand government services, voting items, and ways to interact with the Council.

Served one term on Council.

Current student at Harvard Kennedy School and MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Wants to increase student involvement in the city, including student internships, because the local government directly affects them.

Increased housing and retail options

More open space

A voice to speak for their interests