2023 Candidate for Cambridge City Council
1. Experience with Cambridge nonprofits. Do you have work or volunteer experience with Cambridge nonprofits?
Yes. I have worked alongside many of our local non-profits over the course of the past two decades, just by virtue of my work as a city council. For example, for many years, I worked quite closely with the YWCA Cambridge partnering on our GOLD leadership program for 8th grade girls, I have worked to support efforts like Many Helping Hands, and I have at times worked to strengthen the connective tissue between the CBOs that serve the Port community.
2. Valuing nonprofit expertise. Cambridge nonprofits deliver programs and services across a wide range of missions, from early education and youth development, to affordable housing production and management, arts and culture exposure and education, food security, environmental preservation, civic engagement (or community involvement), and much more. As a result, nonprofit leaders and staff are often well positioned to advise the City on program policies related to their clients and consumers. Will you use your position on the City Council to ensure that the City incorporates the voice and expertise of nonprofit leaders into planning around current City priorities?
Yes. I strongly believe that the City Council is most effective when we are actively engaging with, and listening to, the voices of people who are in the trenches doing the work. It is foolish for us to pretend to have all the information we need to effectively allocate resources or to address the many issues percolating in our community if we do not partner with the non-profits that are engaged in this work, in these issues, on a daily basis. That is why I will continue using my position on the council to engage with the expertise of our non-profit community.
3. Limiting application of Anti-Aid Amendment. With the exception of contracts for services, the Anti-Aid Amendment of the MA Constitution prohibits municipalities from directly distributing funds raised through taxation to nonprofits. While the City provides financial support to nonprofits through contracting, this approach increased administrative burdens, can cause cash-flow issues due to payment delays, and limits creativity in developing new funding opportunities. It also can create an incentive for the City to start new initiatives rather than invest in programs already well established in the community. Will you use your position on the City Council to limit the application of the Anti-Aid Amendment to tax generated revenue only, in order to maximize the resources available to Cambridge nonprofits?
Yes. Absolutely. If re-elected to the City Council, I am committed to working diligently to ensure the Anti-Aid Amendment is applied only where strictly necessary. I believe in maximizing the resources for our Cambridge nonprofits and fully support enhancing their potential for the betterment of our community.
4. Attending to nonprofit workforce challenges. According to CNC's December 2022 survey of Cambridge nonprofits, (70%) reported open positions and over a third (36%) said they lacked the funding to fill them, comprising their ability to meet service demands. Do you believe the City Council can play a role in helping nonprofits recruit and retain high quality staff?
Yes. In an ideal world, the municipal government will work hand-in-hand with our local non-profits, and there are plenty of qualified, intelligent people who apply for various City positions that, for one reason or another, are not hired - but they would make excellent staffers in our non-profits, and would only enhance the work we all do. I indeed would like for us to find a way to have the Council play a greater role in helping nonprofits recruit and retain high quality staff.
5. ARPA investments in nonprofits. While Cambridge nonprofits are grateful for the City committing millions of ARPA dollars to local organizations, concerns have been raised both about the slow pace of releasing funds into the community and a lack of information being shared broadly regarding their progress. Will you use your position on the City Council to expedite this process and ensure there is greater transparency going forward?
Yes. I will commit to pushing the City Manager towards more expeditious releasing of these funds, both in private conversations with him and - if needed - via policy orders designed to increase the pressure on him.