The Cambridge Residents Alliance has formed its own Democracy for Cambridge Political Action Committee to raise funds to publicize endorsed candidates in elections, leaders said Sept. 23.

The 501(c)(c4) nonprofit organization formed in 2012 with the mission of working for a “livable, affordable and diverse Cambridge” and says it has more than 1,800 supporters citywide, holding educational forums on community issues and encouraging residents to get involved in civic life – but the PAC will raise resources to “bring our messages to the electoral process.” The filing was in late July. 

It echoes a move in June 2018 by the group A Better Cambridge, although that filing followed a complaint filed with the state and a finding that ABC’s activity in city elections in the summer and fall of 2017 constituted an unintentional violation of campaign finance laws. 

The Alliance also announced its endorsements of candidates for election to the City Council in 2019 explaining:

 They all seek bold change through policies and programs that create and preserve affordable housing, improve equity and justice, protect tenants from displacement in an unforgiving housing market, increase democratic participation in elections – including through campaign finance reform – and ensure Cambridge is preparing for climate change. Endorsed candidates have demonstrated a commitment to a future city that prioritizes affordable housing for low- and moderate-income people, improves traffic and transit policies and protects civil rights and liberties of all residents regardless of citizenship status. Each candidate has pledged to refuse campaign donations from any large corporate or real estate interests that are seeking zoning changes or other benefits from the City Council or city boards. Fuller descriptions of the candidates, the endorsement process and the full details of our platform can be found at cambridgeresidentsalliance.org.

The group urged votes “for a majority on the council who will take back control of the city’s development from large corporations and their lobbyists while taking bold steps to protect all residents and our environment.”

The endorsees, in alphabetical order and in the group’s language:

Dennis Carlone, first endorsed by the Residents Alliance and elected in 2013 and again in 2015 and 2017. He is an award-winning architect and urban planner who uses his political and professional skills to promote planning for people and prevent exploitive development. He has co-chaired the important Ordinance Committee, secured additional city funding for affordable housing and was chief sponsor of the Net Zero and plastic bag ban ordinances.

Charles Franklin is a first-time candidate and a computer engineer, a founder of Upgrade Cambridge, a group trying to bring municipal broadband to the city, a member of the steering committee of the Inman Square Neighborhood Association and a strong advocate for bicycle and pedestrian safety. He is action-oriented, with a strong focus on strengthening equal access to all the city’s resources.

Risa Mednick is a first-time candidate who directed Transition House, Cambridge’s program for domestic violence prevention and intervention and its shelter. She has focused her life’s work on sustaining the most basic things people need to live – freedom from violence and abuse, safe housing, access to health care, money and jobs. She will bring that deep knowledge of the city to the council.

Patty Nolan is a first-time council candidate after serving for 14 years on the School Committee. She brings to the council her long-term commitments to good governance and accountability, a history of activism in the face of the climate crisis and deep knowledge of our educational system.

Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler is a first-time candidate who works for a land-use policy organization in Cambridge. He grew up in subsidized housing and is a renter. As a democratic socialist, he volunteers as an organizer and activist for tenant protections and policies that stabilize rents in the city. He supports a Cambridge “Green New Deal” and programs to address wealth and racial equity gaps.

Nicola Williams is a first-time candidate who founded her small consulting business in Cambridge and has directed and promoted the city’s Caribbean Carnival for 27 years. She sees commercial corporations forcing out small businesses as the prices of land and buildings skyrocket. She wants to see increased affordable homeownership and is committed to bringing the voices of residents of all residents to the implementation of city development policies.

Quinton Zondervan was endorsed by the Residents Alliance in 2017 and is seeking a second term on the Council. An immigrant, Quinton is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a tech entrepreneur, a nonprofit leader of Green Cambridge, co-wrote the Net Zero zoning petition and secured additional city funding for affordable housing. He brings his considerable skills to challenging urban issues, including bold thinking about the climate crisis, protecting our tree canopy and the future of transportation and transit.


This post took significant amounts of material from a press release.