Sunday, July 21, 2024

“The buildings won’t fit in. We’ll never clear the waiting list. The developers can’t be trusted.” These were all things I used to tell myself to justify opposing the original Affordable Housing Overlay in 2019. I still wanted more affordable housing, but not by that plan. After the AHO’s initial expiration and before its resubmission, I decided that if I really wanted to look at myself in the mirror and say that I wanted more affordable housing, I would have to shed those thoughts.

Fortunately, in 2020 the Cambridge City Council shed those thoughts as well and passed the AHO. And just this week, the council ordained enhancements to the original overlay.

To those who doubt the urgent need for these amendments, I say this: Too many of our neighbors have been and are still being forced out of the city by ever-skyrocketing rents. If there is to be any housing justice in the world, we will have to be the ones to bring it to fruition. The market will not do it for us.

Of the three dissenters on the council, there is one whose sentiments I want to repeat: Patty Nolan asserted that even though a vote may be a binary, the philosophy of housing justice isn’t. I agree with her assertion and would caution others against alienating those with valid concerns who would otherwise be allies. The “No-Coalition” and the disinformation distributors are gaining momentum in the council race. If we let them, they will roll back all the progress our city has made in the past several years. With there being three vacant seats on the council, voting in this election is as important as ever. We need to ensure that those seats are filled with three progressive candidates who will protect Cambridge’s position as a leading progressive city in the nation.

Charles Jessup Franklin, Hampshire Street