Election Night 2019

Hello Ward 2! On this eve of election day, I wanted to reach out to thank you for all of your support over the past two years. Even running unopposed in this cycle, I do not take for granted the responsibility you have given me to fight for our shared values and common welfare at City Hall every day. As your representative, I’ve been committed to providing more transparency and accessibility than ever, and I love it when you reach out by email, phone, or just dropping in to my weekly office hours.

I also want to thank so many of you for your work with me in those two years, and celebrate some of our accomplishments:

  • As a City Council we’ve passed sweeping tenant protections, started to put the brakes on condo conversions, banned facial surveillance technology, implemented protections for our tree canopy, and established equity measures for the recreational cannabis business that are being used as a model around the state.
  • As a neighborhood we’ve established the Somerville Community Land Trust, increased affordable housing and green space in neighborhood developments, and secured $4M in benefits from the developers in Union Square.
  • Together, we’ve increased oversight and exposed wrongdoing in the police department, brought to light sexual harassment incidents at City Hall, and brought accountability to the unelected Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Somerville Redevelopment Authority.

There’s even more to come before the end of the year, including securing funding and approval for the creation of a new park in Ward 2 near Target and a whole host of equity and affordability legislation.

All in all, it’s been an extremely impressive amount of progress in two blindingly fast years. But just as this work has required a team effort of many resident activists in Ward 2 and across the city, I also rely upon my team on the City Council to make this progress happen – and I need that team to keep making gains in the next two years.

That’s why I’m asking you not just for your vote tomorrow to affirm our commitment to progress here in Ward 2 – I’m also asking that you give your votes to a team of At-Large Councilors that will continue to work with me on these goals.

On the Council, we absolutely need to re-elect Councilor Bill White. He’s a lawyer and lifelong student of politics with multiple decades of experience, institutional knowledge, and a keen eye for detail. He’s been instrumental in helping me navigate legislative processes and fight the battles for accountability on Beacon Street, and he’s going to be crucial in helping to address the flooding situation in Ward 2. No one has been hammering home the points about our long-term fiscal situation more than him, and he’s Somerville through-and-through. He’s getting my first vote.

Next, Councilor Mary Jo Rossetti is outstanding. She is the main oversight for the High School project, and stands out alongside myself and Clr White as someone who really puts in hours of diligence on the city’s annual budget. The two of us work closely together on fiscal oversight issues, licensing, and permitting, and I’ll need her help to get our Wage Theft Ordinance enforced and strengthened. She’s my second vote.

Third, Councilor Will Mbah is a unique voice on the council. As a tenant, an immigrant, a minority, and a working parent with a full time job, he brings some real perspectives and heart to all of the city council’s deliberations that would otherwise be lacking. We’ve worked together on equity issues and in particular he’s an ally who is willing to cut through the nonsense to get to the crux of the matter on environmental issues. He’s getting my third vote.

The fourth vote is a tough one. Councilor Stephanie Hirsch has a lot of technical knowledge and a data focus that I value. She has been someone that can work with the rest of the council to get equity and affordable housing measures passed. On the other hand, Kristen Strezo is the best of the challengers. I appreciated working with her on sexual harassment problems at City Hall when she was Co-chair of the Somerville Women’s Commission. I think either Stephanie Hirsch or Kristen Strezo would serve well in the role if elected.

One strong opinion I have in the At-Large race is that keeping Jack Connolly out of office is an important goal. Please don’t vote for him. Jack served for over 30 years in various capacities as an Alderman, but the time for reactionary conservatism is past. This article summarizes some of the problems with Mr Connolly, citing his own words, articles, and campaign literature over the years: https://medium.com/@strangebuttrue/the-case-against-jack-connolly-538f57cbed46

I hope you’ll come out Tuesday and vote to affirm the progress we’ve made and keep us moving forward for another two years.

Thanks again, and I’ll see you at the polls tomorrow!