City Council Candidate Profiles, Group 2 of 5

Cambridge City HallPhoto by Adrianne Mathiowetz.

This year, 26 candidates are running for Cambridge’s nine City Council seats.

Scout is putting together profiles on every candidate running for City Council so that voters can get informed about the slate of people who could shape Cambridge for the next two years.

Election Day is Nov. 7, and the last day to register to vote is Oct. 18. Find your voting location here.

The City Council candidate profiles are not grouped in any particular order. Read batch 1 here and keep an eye out for the next three groups of candidates. Candidates’ answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.

 

Dennis Carlone (Note: Carlone currently serves on the City Council.)

What should we know about you?

I’m a two-term City Councillor, co-chair of the Ordinance Committee, and an award-winning architect/urban designer. I’ve lived in Cambridge with my wife, Katie, for 43 years and we raised both of our sons here. As a councillor, I’ve worked closely with 14 different neighborhood groups to help them with design and zoning issues in their individual communities according to their own needs and self-determined goals.

I was the first in my family to attend and graduate from college. I know that I’ve been blessed in life and want to give back, in kind. In each phase of my life, I have focused on strategies and policies that promote the public good and benefit all of Cambridge’s diverse communities.

What would your top three priorities be if elected?

1) Review all options to overcome Cambridge’s current housing crisis. This includes equitable zoning reform guided by urban design best practices, cost-effective construction, requiring our local universities to meet the dormitory needs of their students, requiring development of non-luxury priced housing that middle- and low-income residents can actually afford, and increasing the amount of city funds dedicated to affordable housing efforts.

2) Implementing the city-wide Master Plan to serve social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Under this plan, Cambridge can continue to grow without overwhelming its existing neighborhoods, increase the number of buildings designed and retrofitted to
run on 100 percent renewable energy, and better integrate existing public transit into its urban fabric.

3) Fully implement the Vision Zero plan to make Cambridge’s streets as safe and efficient as possible for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.

What are three specific new programs or changes you would make if elected?

1) Require 50 percent residential space above the ground floor in all new developments in Cambridge’s major squares. Any project seeking a special permit would need to have 50 percent of its street frontage space dedicated to small, local retail.

2) Reform local elections with publicly financed municipal campaigns. I do not accept donations from large real estate developers or special interests.

3) Upgrade and expand public open space to provide a true community benefit to Cambridge’s entire population.

What sets you apart from other candidates?

As an architect/urban designer, I bring indispensable and unique experience to the policy area over which the council has the most direct control: zoning and new development. I personally designed the East Cambridge Riverfront Project and over 500 successful affordable and mixed-income housing units in Massachusetts according to the input and desires of the people living in those communities.

Give us a fun fact about you.

In my youth, I excelled in and loved team sports so much that I wanted to be a football coach.

 

Paul Toner

What should we know about you? 

I am a lifelong resident of Cambridge, a former Cambridge teacher, lawyer, union leader, advocate and public school parent.  I am lucky to live in my great grandfather’s house with my wife Susan and children Grace and Jack.

Over the years my family has suffered personal losses and has benefited from living in a city where people support one another.  My values have been shaped by the people of Cambridge.  They are values I hold dear: supporting your neighbors, helping others,
and a commitment to public service.

I became a teacher to make a difference in the lives of my students and to give back to my community.  My work and experience in the classroom led me to become an advocate for educators and students as the president of the Cambridge Teachers Association and later as the vice president and president of the 113,000 member Massachusetts Teachers Association. I currently work with teachers at Teach Plus to have an impact on education policy.

What would your top three priorities be if elected?

My top priority is bringing civil discourse back to local government. I am a very solutions-oriented person and have worked hard at developing collaborative relationships in all of the work I do. 

My main focus is to maintain and build upon Cambridge’s very solid foundations and improve upon the services we provide to our residents. With that in mind, I think we need to focus on developing regional relationships and plans to tackle the issues of affordable housing, income inequality, and transportation, including safe bike lanes. Cambridge has done great work in these areas and we can do more as a city, but we are not going to be able to solve the housing crisis or improve transportation infrastructure without coordinating and planning with other surrounding cities and towns. 

In order to address income inequality, we need to create pathways to prosperity for all of our residents. This requires not only a strong public school system but coordination with all of our city departments, nonprofit programs, higher education institutions, union apprenticeship, and employer internships to provide all of our residents with the support they need to access the opportunities in our robust economy here in Cambridge.

What are three specific new programs or changes you would make if elected?

I actually would not look to create new programs. We already have more than enough programs. I think what we need is a focus on a few key priorities and to realign our resources to accomplish those priorities. If every candidate comes to the council with a laundry list of new programs, we will accomplish nothing. I hope that the candidates who are elected will come together after spending months meeting with residents and develop a shared set of priorities that we can advance together with the city manager and staff.

What sets you apart from other candidates?

I believe what sets me apart is my knowledge of the city and its neighborhoods, practical experience in engaging different interest groups, and finding common sense solutions in a collaborative manner. I have lived here all of my life and witnessed many changes. I will bring that historical perspective to the table while also being able to look to the future. I believe I can help bridge the old and new so that we can move forward together with a vision for the future that preserves the best of our past.

Give us a fun fact about you.

I am a huge U2 fan and I had the opportunity to meet my rock hero, Larry Mullens, the drummer from U2, twice in Cambridge. Once at the old Hideaway Pub and a second time at Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square.

 

Jan Devereux (Note: Devereux currently serves on the City Council.)

What should we know about you?

I was elected in 2015 as the only new councillor and one of only two women on the nine-member council. Since then, I have worked full-time to raise the bar on what it means to be an effective councillor. Before serving on the council, I helped found the Fresh Pond Residents Alliance where I worked to organize and empower my neighborhood and engage fellow residents with policy and planning decisions. I earned my B.A. from Princeton University and M.B.A from Columbia University, and I’ve worked in nonprofit communications. I raised my three grown children in Cambridge.

What would your top three priorities be if elected?

1) Affordable housing – As councillor and member of the housing committee, I fought to significantly increase the supply of affordable housing especially for families. I supported regulations on short-term rentals that will prevent non-resident investors from commercializing our housing stock, though I opposed allowing hosting in “owner-adjacent” units in 3- and 4-unit buildings. I would support a transfer tax to deter speculation and fees on long-vacant buildings to deter landbanking.

2) Environment and sustainability – As chair of the health and environment committee I have worked to make Cambridge greener by advocating for more aggressive action to protect and increase our tree canopy and by strengthening our commitment to sustainability. As a cyclist, I have fought to improve our network of protected bike lanes and to reduce speed limits to further our commitment to Vision Zero and to support sustainable mobility. I helped organize the 2016 Climate Congress and confronting climate change will continue to be a priority for me if re-elected.

3) Civic engagement – Meeting with residents from all areas, responding personally to their concerns, and attending neighborhood meetings and committee hearings is my number one priority. I have raised the bar for responsiveness and transparency and have modeled the kind of commitment to service and proactive communication that as a long-time resident I felt had been lacking in my representatives.

What are three specific new programs or changes you would make if elected?

1) Create an Office of Housing Stability to work with tenants facing displacement and explore tax incentives for landlords who keep their rents below market

2) Install more public chargers for electric vehicles

3) Offer childcare, food, and translations services during City Council meetings

What sets you apart from other candidates?

Being a City Councillor is my full-time job. I think about issues broadly and deeply, and I show up at all meetings well-prepared to discuss issues from an informed perspective.

Give us a fun fact about you.

I am the author of a children’s novel, Poe the Crow.

 

Marc McGovern (Note: McGovern currently serves on the City Council.)

What should we know about you? 

I am a fourth generation Cantabrigian, father, and social worker. I have served two terms on the City Council and four terms on the School Committee. As someone who has committed his life to social and economic justice, the focus of my work on the council has been on issues facing our most vulnerable residents, such as affordable housing, poverty, hunger, homelessness, and addiction. Cambridge is a wonderful city, but we have more work to do if we are going to be the socially and economically just community that we want to be.

What would your top three priorities be if elected?

1) Social and economic justice – This includes affordable housing, social equity, early childhood education, a $15 minimum wage, job training, immigrant rights, etc.

2) Collaboration – We need to ensure that we have a Council that works well together and remains focused on our common goals. The people of Cambridge, especially those who are most vulnerable, cannot afford to have their representatives distracted by personal conflicts. This does not mean that we will always agree, no one always agrees, but it does mean that we find common ground, that we respect one another and that we don’t let personal grudges get in the way of serving our city.

3) Public safety – This includes everything from supporting or first responders, to safe street infrastructure, to climate change. We need to ensure that every resident in Cambridge, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation or zip code feels safe, not only in their neighborhood but with those who are charged with keeping them safe. We also need to ensure that people using all modes of transportation can traverse our city in safety. And of course, climate change is the greatest threat facing our world and Cambridge must continue to be a leader in battling this threat.

What are three specific new programs or changes you would make if elected?:

1) Create an Office of Housing Stability – An Office of Housing Stability will be a one-stop location for residents to obtain information regarding all available housing programs, with a primary goal of preventing displacement. This office will provide information to both tenants and landlords regarding their legal rights and offer mediation, crisis intervention, and referral services.

2) Support the creation of a network of dedicated bike lanes – Not long after Amanda Phillips was killed, my 16-year-old son was ‘doored’ while riding his bike. Luckily, no cars were coming as he fell into the street. He could easily have been yet another fatality on Cambridge streets. This near-miss, punch-in-the-gut moment made me realize how urgent the issue is and how unnecessarily protracted the process has been. I will be looking for opportunities to create respectful dialog between cyclists and non-cyclists about how to safely share our roads.

3) Create gap vouchers – Many low-income residents who receive Section 8 still cannot afford to reside in Cambridge. The gap between the maximum Section 8 will pay and the minimum market rent is so great that even with subsidies many are forced to leave Cambridge. I will call on the city to look at creating a “Gap Voucher Program” where funds are put aside to help low income residents make up the difference.

What sets you apart from other candidates?

Collaboration: I am the only City Councilor who has filed major policy initiatives with every other member of the Council. I know how to find common ground, bring people together and move the agenda forward for the residents of our city.

Concrete Actions: Whether its creating the position of Liaison of Immigrant Affairs, leading the way on increasing the affordable housing requirement for developers, taking on the pet shop industry and “bad breeders,” or taking a stand against the hatred and bigotry coming from the White House, I don’t just talk about what needs to be done, I take concrete action to address issues.

Give us a fun fact about you.

I had a small (don’t blink) role in Good Will Hunting.

 

Adriane Musgrave

What should we know about you?

My husband and I have lived in Cambridge for nearly 10 years and plan to send our children to our public schools. I’m committed to public service, having started my career working for then-Senator John Kerry where I focused on veterans’ issues as an intern. I serve on the executive board of a national nonprofit that tackles poverty and inequality by helping small businesses grow. As a management consultant to the Fortune 500, I know the importance of using both data and community engagement to solve the complex issues facing our city. 

What would your top three priorities be if elected?

1) Champion smart zoning and development so that Cambridge remains affordable for everyone

2) Advocate for high-impact initiatives and funding that address our city’s rising inequality and inequities

3) Maintain high-quality city services and city infrastructure, including the expansion of bike lanes  

What are three specific new programs or changes you would make if elected?

1) Advocate for a city-wide affordable housing overlay, which would enable us to create more housing units across the city and help address housing affordability. Our city staff is prepared to work on a plan; we need our city council to begin this discussion.

2) Prioritize universal early childhood education starting at age 3 for all kids in Cambridge.

3) Ensure that all kids in low/moderate-income families can afford and attend high-quality after-school programs and summer camp. Right now, financial limitations and outreach challenges mean families are not sending their children to programs where creativity and curiosity is unleashed.

What sets you apart from other candidates?

Cambridge is my home and where we will raise our kids, so its future is incredibly important to me. While I feel very lucky to live here and be able to access the region’s booming economy, it is putting increased pressure on the diversity, inclusiveness, and community that make Cambridge special. That’s why I left my job to run full-time for City Council and why I will make City Council my full-time priority when elected. It’s not a decision I took lightly; I’m dedicated to this community, will be ready to serve on day one, and am in it for the long haul. Cambridge needs an experienced working professional who understands our modern economy, has experience addressing poverty and inequality, and will work hard for our residents by listening, learning, and taking action. That’s my I promise as your city councilor.

Give us a fun fact about you.

I played DI soccer at Boston University.

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