1.The City of Cambridge received $65M+ in fiscal recovery funds through the American Rescue Plan Act. Although the Treasury Department provided some guidelines, the City has significant discretion in how to use the funding. If elected, what will you do to ensure that the residents most harmed by the pandemic, and the nonprofit organizations that work to support and empower them, will be prioritized to receive these funds and be an authentic part of the decision making process?
I totally agree with your beliefs. My goal is to help those who need the city's support the most. That is why I ran for Council in the first place. Please review my accomplishments on my website, DennisCarlone.com.
2. The Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies recently reported that nationally nonprofits lost 1.6M jobs between March-May 2020. What policies would you advocate for to hasten the recovery of Cambridge nonprofits and increase their capacity to serve Cambridge?
I believe a significant majority of the council strongly support nonprofits and want to increase their capacity. A roundtable with Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition, the council, and the manager and his administrative team should meet as early as possible. I would recommend having separate preliminary meetings to discuss what is possible, what is likely, and what is needed. The city's budget is supposed to be based on council goals. We need to more strongly include nonprofit support in the stated goals.
3. The Anti-Aid Amendment of the Massachusetts State Constitution prohibits municipalities from directly distributing funds raised through taxation to nonprofits, with the exception of contracts for specific goods or services. This creates many challenges including but not limited to: use of cost reimbursement contracts, that can increase the administrative burden and in some cases cause cash-flow issues for organizations, limiting the amount of funds available to support individual organizations, constraining creativity in funding models, and creating an incentive for the City of Cambridge to implement its own programs rather than more significantly investing in nonprofits already running well established programs in the community. Although the City of Cambridge does not have the authority to abolish the Anti-Aid Amendment, it has some discretion in how broadly to apply it. If elected, what would you do to limit the negative impacts of the anti-aid amendment in order to maximize the resources that Cambridge nonprofits represent?
I fundamentally believe the city should be doing more and the mood of the general population is moving to the same opinion. Also, we generate non-real estate tax funds as well, which should be used by nonprofit needs. Nonprofits fill the gap for social needs that the city government does not cover. We can find a way.
4. The recent Cambridge Community Foundation Equity and Innovation Cities report paints a stark picture of a Cambridge that has experienced both significant prosperity during the last decade, as well as deep and fast growing income inequality along racial lines. What do you believe would need to change for the City of Cambridge to become the anti-racist community it aspires to be?
Our government should be focused on our citizens'/electorate's needs. Cambridge always says that no other city comes close, but we have more unused resources than any other city. We need to dig deeper into our full pockets and serve our people with greater needs: pre-kindergarten, food assistance, job training, mentorship, summer programs, ESL, etc. Perhaps most importantly, we need to broaden our education studies to include all people's histories and cultures as positive additions to make makes Cambridge and our country so unique. The city cannot/will not do all; the nonprofits are our partners.
5. How do you propose creating a more inclusive approach to current community engagement strategies that research has shown overwhelmingly favor the wealthy? What ideas do you have to both increase the diversity of participants on City of Cambridge boards and committees, and make those governing bodies more inclusive and welcoming to all?
In my experience in urban design and designing affordable housing and community plans, it takes dedicated community advocates to literally go door to door. They share information, gain initial feedback, build trust (over an extended time period) and discuss options to solve local needs/problems. This has to be a long term process and commitment.
6. How would you describe the role of Cambridge nonprofits in meeting the needs of Cambridge residents and advancing equity in our City? What do you believe is the ideal way for City councilors to engage with local nonprofits in service of achieving these goals?
Clearly, nonprofits are an essential part of successful urban life. I suggest you invite a small group of councillors (3-5?) to your board/information meetings in your facilities each year. Let us fully see your needs, concerns and desires. Familiarity breeds communication and dedication to each other.
7. Is there anything that we haven’t asked that you would like to share with the Cambridge nonprofit community?
Yes. Next time, ask what services have each of the candidates provided in their life to the benefit of those most in need. Personal backgrounds will give you the most accurate perspective of individuals.