Sunday, June 16, 2024

First, to save time and energy, let me present my ABH voting list (Anybody But Him/Her) and simply remark that I fully believe it’s time we take down the curtains and remove the old furniture from the council chamber. In other words, it’s time to let in some light and create space for new faces.

My Anybody But Him/Her list starts with the usual cast of suspects: the council members that have spent much too much time on the starting team without scoring any baskets. In other words, to someone like myself who’s gravely concerned with Cambridge’s lemming-like run off the development cliff, these folks vote yes to practically any upzoning petition that comes their way. They give lip service to caring about families and the economically disadvantaged, but they don’t care enough to question whether they’re actually contributing to the gentrification that is driving out those on the middle and lower rungs of Cambridge’s economic ladder. Messieurs Maher, Reeves, Cheung and Toomey, as well as Ms. Denise Simmons, all deserve a long, perhaps permanent, vacation from the City Council, in my estimation.

Which means I do support the re-election of two council members, Minka vanBeuzekom and Craig Kelley, both of whom have shown the courage of their convictions many times in council chambers – Minka’s most valiant being when she stood up to the bullying of fellow council members to vote no on the MIT 26-acre Grand Giveaway.

So, the question now arises, who amongst the crowded challengers field would I cast my numbered votes for? First I would have to list Dennis Carlone, who has already scored three endorsements as the only candidate with such an extensive background in urban planning. Given the mad scramble to build 14-,16- and 18-story apartment towers in Central Square, Dennis’ background and convictions would be a critical contribution to any discussion about the future of our city. Second, third, fourth or whatever numbered vote comes the following, though not in any prescribed order: Kristen von Hoffman, James Williamson, Gary Mello and Nadeem Mazen, all of whom seem worthy of yours and my votes.

Of the crowded field, I believe only Dennis Carlone and Gary Mello have made a point of rejecting donations from developers. And of the newcomers, Dennis Benzan seems to be the golden child in raising money for his campaign. Good thing or bad thing? You decide. But if he had any more signs around the city, we might consider rechristening Cambridge as Benzanville.

Anyway, in two days you, I and our fellow citizens will either make history or fall into the trap of sending the same old faces back to clean up the mess they’ve been making for the past four, 12 or 24 years.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a mistake I’ve made for the last time.

Paul Steven Stone