The Cambridge Election Commission announced the official (but not “final”) election of nine City Councilors at its Nov. 15 meeting, including four challengers: Dennis Benzan, Dennis Carlone, Nadeem Mazen and Marc McGovern.
We were greatly encouraged by the results of this election and we believe they reflect a significant desire for change on the part of the Cambridge electorate! The number of #1 votes for non-incumbents increased sharply, from 23% in 2011 to 47% this year. In our opinion, the magnitude of the jump is due not only to the two empty seats, but also reflects residents’ increasing concerns about rising housing costs, threatened over-development, traffic congestion, and the loss of open space.
The Cambridge Residents Alliance contributed to this election by educating voters on crucial issues through: a series of forums last year on housing, traffic, and community planning; publication and distribution of more than 1,000 copies of our Platform Brochure—Working For a Livable, Affordable and Diverse Cambridge; the broad circulation of our Candidate Questionnaire Responses; and direct participation of our network members in the get-out-the-vote effort. We want to thank all of you who were active in the election, for consistently raising our issues in the various candidates’ campaigns and election events.
We were especially encouraged by the election of Dennis Carlone, the candidate we endorsed. Dennis refused real estate contributions and his “Planning for People” campaign theme struck a chord with voters. His development experience, leadership qualities, and friendly balanced approach will make him an excellent councilor. Nadeem Mazen, whose platform calls for a citywide master plan and less emphasis on tall luxury towers, is another welcome newcomer. Marc McGovern has been a consistent voice for our city’s children and families coping with poverty. Dennis Benzan’s focus on making sure our young people are able to benefit from companies located in the city is an essential feature of the development discussion. Unfortunately, incumbent Minka van Beuzekom, who has been an ally for neighborhood groups on development issues, lost her seat.
In fact, the official vote counts for candidates taking the 6,7,8, 9 and 10th positions were very close. Minka has filed for a hand recount, which will last for some weeks. The Cambridge Residents Alliance supports all efforts to increase openness, transparency, and voter participation. To volunteer as a recount observer for the Carlone Campaign, call 617-682-0657. To volunteer for the other campaigns that are recruiting observers, go to their websites.
We will continue to address concerns about affordable housing, traffic congestion and threatened over-development as the city faces the pressure from large real estate developers to exploit the value of land in Kendall Square, Central Square, and Alewife Brook. After the recount, we look forward to working productively with all members of the new City Council to improve the quality of life for Cambridge residents. We hope you will continue to join us in these efforts!
Thanks from the Cambridge Residents Alliance Executive Committee: