Paul Toner for City Council, 2021
Challenger running for City Council for the second time
Background: Attorney, former Cambridge Public Schools teacher, former president of the Cambridge Teachers Association, former president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, former vice president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO | Focuses: Civil discourse, hiring the next city manager, climate resilience through housing and transportation
From A Better Cambridge, Sept. 19: What’s the No. 1 strategy or policy you want the next City Council to pursue on housing?
I agree about the council setting a better tone; about focusing on the hiring of the next city manager with experience in urban planning and affordable housing; about looking at properties we either own or that come into our possession for how we can best use them for affordable housing; and about looking at single-family zoning and considering how we might be able to build more multifamily housing in scale with the neighborhoods.
From the Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition: How would you increase the diversity of voices on city projects and as members of Cambridge boards and committees?
We need to do more initial outreach and increase communication with residents across all communities, using new technology and social media but also old-fashioned community organizing. The City Council will have to hire a new city manager soon – a rare opportunity to vet a candidate who understands the importance of bringing diverse viewpoints into the decision making process, and the council should include recruiting and engaging a more diverse segment of our population in its performance goals for the city manager evaluation. Councillors should also recruit candidates to recommend to the city manager for appointment to committees.
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 want to cast a wide net and find candidates who have a wealth of experience and skills in board management, labor relations, municipal finance, strategic planning, urban planning, business development and community engagement. I also want someone who takes a collaborative, solutions-oriented approach to leadership.