Dana Bullister for City Council, 2021
Challenger running for City Council for the first time
Background: Data scientist and entrepreneur | Focuses: Housing and neighborhood affordability, sustainable transit and reforming the city manager form of government
From A Better Cambridge, Sept. 19: What’s the No. 1 strategy or policy you want the next City Council to pursue on housing?
My top priority is ensuring decisions our city makes on housing reflect a fair and democratic process, capturing what we as a community want and what we feel is right. Well-designed, diverse housing options should be facilitated near transit hubs and where a city’s infrastructure can support them. This should be reflected in our policies, as should other reasonable allowances reflecting current building norms as judged by the community. Appointed boards should incorporate even more community input in decisions.
From the Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition: How would you increase the diversity of voices on city projects and as members of Cambridge boards and committees?
The city should explore making roles on boards and commissions compensated jobs, so all residents have a fair opportunity to participate. We should also invest in campaign finance reform – we need a government made up of true representatives of our people, not the highest bidders or the interests of the wealthiest donors. In Cambridge, individual campaign contributions are capped at $1000. This restricts the practice, but it does not address the issue wholly. There is no limit on what candidates can contribute to their own campaigns. Even if we cannot implement 100% public financing, we must do everything within our power to restrict the impact of campaign contributions in every way possible. The council should also explore using more rigorous survey methods on contentious issues: canvassing, phone banking and other means.
From the Cambridge Citizens Coalition, Sept 26: Cambridge is about to hire a city manager. Describe your ideal city manager for this time and their qualities.
I hope to help choose a next city manager who prioritizes maintaining a good relationship with the council as well as the fundamental values of transparency, inclusion and community engagement. The next city manager would understand the importance of investing in well-planned, people-centered amenities, quality physical infrastructure and an approach that emphasizes a larger proportion of new housing relative to new commercial development. He or she would also understand the importance of effective, streamlined tools to manage affordable-housing programs such as online portals for easily navigating options.