Wednesday, July 24, 2024

From city councillor Nadeem Mazen, Aug. 16, 2016: The City Council will hold a committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 29 at City Hall to discuss becoming the first Massachusetts community to publicly fund local elections. The meeting will be held in the Neighborhood & Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts & Celebration committee, chaired by councillor Nadeem Mazen, with councillors Dennis Carlone, Leland Cheung, Jan Devereux and David Maher serving as members.

The main topic of the meeting, called for in a June policy order, will be the creation of a public funding system for candidates running for City Council. A variety of public funding models will be discussed, including one similar to the Albuquerque Open and Ethical Elections Fund.

Cambridge has a long history of supporting campaign finance reform; in 1998, 77 percent of residents voted in favor of the Massachusetts Clean Elections Law, and four years ago 86 percent of voters were in favor of a resolution to overturn the Citizens United ruling, which found corporate donations to political campaigns to be speech protected under the First Amendment.

Mazen said through an aide:

The primary goal of the program is to give power to the voters of Cambridge. It will encourage candidates to spend time with normal constituents to raise qualifying funds. Candidates will be relieved of the pressure to solicit donations from big campaign donors, and candidates who do not come from affluent backgrounds or have wealthy friends will have an equal opportunity to run for office.

“Cambridge has always been a leader in progress values and diversity,” said one Cambridge resident in Mazen’s press release, “and we need to make sure that our elections represent all people equally.

All are welcome to attend the meeting at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, and share their thoughts during public comment. They can also email the City Clerk’s Office at [email protected] to express their opinion.