Tuesday, April 23, 2024

101813i-Tim-ToomeyFacebook-icon-smallTwitter-icon-smallTim Toomey was born in Cambridge, raised in East Cambridge and lives on Sixth Street. He is a graduate of Matignon High School and earned a degree in government from Suffolk University in 1975.

He was elected to the Cambridge School Committee in 1985, then to the council in 1989. In 1992, he was elected as state representative, though his run on Beacon Hill ended last year in a primary with challenger Mike Connolly.

Compiled from the candidate’s words in publicly available sources.

Top priorities:

bullet-gray-smallAffordable Housing. Expand upon the existing supply so that people of all means can afford to live in Cambridge.

bullet-gray-smallOpen space. Parks are an important part of any community and bring its members together.

bullet-gray-smallSocial services. Cambridge must continue to offer a variety of vital services to its residents.

Excerpted from Scout Cambridge. Read the complete profile here.


bullet-gray-smallMassachusetts Voters for Animals

bullet-gray-smallPlumbers & Gasfitters UA Local 12

bullet-gray-smallLaborers International Union of North America Local 151

bullet-gray-smallUnited Union of Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers Local 33

bullet-gray-smallSprinkler Fitters and Apprentices – UA Local 550

bullet-gray-smallUnited Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America – Local 40

bullet-gray-smallInternational Association of Fire Fighters Local 30 / Cambridge Fire Fighters Union

In his own words, Toomey “has dedicated much of his life to public service … he has been an outspoken advocate for affordable housing and smart, community-based policing [and] continues to focus on serving the public by being open, accessible and by providing outstanding constituent services.”

Fair enough. Toomey also plays by his own rules, which can look extremely inconsistent and cross the line into hypocrisy, including his frequent use of his council “charter right” to take an issue out of consideration until the next council meeting, and of the “reconsideration” maneuver to revote an issue or keep an issue from being revoted, though this latter technique has been less in evidence lately. He tends to wield these tools politically, although he is very unhappy when he perceives someone else “politicizing” an issue, and his priorities can be confusing. This is the guy who worried that the three-year, $3.3 million master plan would grow mysteriously to $6 million after defending the city’s failed battling of a civil rights lawsuit about racial discrimination and retaliation through a years-long legal battle and losing series of appeals that ultimately cost the city some $11.3 million. (He’s also been quiet about the potential $30 million cost to redevelop the Foundry building, but that’s in Toomey’s neighborhood, East Cambridge.)

He has been irascible in the past term, all too predictably when fellow councillor Jan Devereux makes a motion. He will thwart a motion based on a belief that “every tree is significant” despite being told in provided materials that what’s being discussed is a term of art (a “significant” tree is one that measures more than 8 inches in diameter at breast height, which every tree does not), and he will refuse to amend an order to the City Manager’s Office to explore negotiating for the entire 8-acre Episcopal Divinity School property solely for affordable housing after an explanation of why such a deal is nigh impossible for the 8 acres.

Toomey has, indeed, accomplished a lot in his career, but he has also been complicit in letting Cambridge’s affordable housing problem grow term after term, letting years pass without grappling with updates to developer linkage fees or an obviously abused inclusionary zoning rule.

The councillor will always have his base – he’s long been a neighborhood favorite and, yes, “outstanding” at retail politics and constituent service – but we will never stop hoping that he stop his game-playing in council chambers, show an open mind and just vote motions on their merits.

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Tim Toomey for City Council, 2015