Friday, May 24, 2024

We live in a noisy, fractious, polarized world. By “world” I mean our fair city … Cambridge. The discourse about important issues being debated and decided by our City Council has taken on coarse and hostile tones. Rather than true discourse or debate, we have entered the territory of verbal smackdowns, snide characterization and outright intimidation, making for a factionalized city.

The election Nov. 7 is a referendum on the track record and values of current City Council members. As a reader of Cambridge Day, chances are you are engaged, but too few of our fellow citizens are: Fewer than 22,000 of those eligible to vote in the past council election did so – out of a population of nearly 120,000. Our democracy will be stronger if we all are educated on issues being decided by our council, if we understand the likely impacts and the interrelationship of policies and if we know how current councillors vote on key issues.

Keep abreast of what happens in Cambridge by watching council meetings at 5:30 p.m. Mondays on local cable Channel 22 or via livestream. Find the agenda on the city’s open meeting portal and you can sign up to speak.

For the first time in 80 years Cambridge’s city charter is under review. Learn how this process is shaping the future of city government.

Read widely. We all must get out of our echo chambers and seek to understand people with different views. Read Cambridge Day and send a donation to keep local journalism going. For a digest of local commentary and issues, check out the Cambridge Civic Journal.

We must not sit out this next election. We must work actively to ensure robust democracy and elect councillors who are more responsible, transparent and committed to democratic government in the city.

Make your voice count. Vote Nov. 7 and ensure that your friends and neighbors do as well. Register if you haven’t already.

Mary Jane Kornacki, Avon Hill Street