Here are jut a few examples of how Marjorie Decker is working for Cambridge as a City Council member and the city's Vice Mayor:
1. Marjorie has filed a home rule petition that would create a predictable and fair property tax. The city's recent property tax increases were the result of a state mandate that Cambridge tax its property at 100 percent value. Although Cambridge still has the lowest residential property tax rate, the sky-rocketing real estate market is hitting some residents deep in their pockets. When it comes to their assessments, Marjorie's proposal would reexamine the methods used for assessment and create a fair and predicable tax policy.
Because it is so important to keep Cambridge diverse and provide opportunities for individuals in various income brackets, Marjorie took the lead in negotiating on behalf of Riverside residents with Harvard University over the Mahoney site. In the end, the University agreed to deed to the city riverfront open space close to a $1 million in landscaping and design and the development of as many as 60 new affordable housing units. Marjorie continues to be involved with the oversight of this implementation.
2. Marjorie has been recognized and honored by the Greater Boston Labor Council for outstanding work on behalf of workers and immigrants. She was instrumental in the Living Wage campaign including leveraging Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to help raise awareness of the issue. Marjorie also fought on behalf of Genzyme's cleaning staff to ensure that the hard-working people of Cambridge have money to put food on the table. Individuals who work hard at full-time jobs should be paid enough so that they do not need to choose between food and medicine.
3. Marjorie is committed to helping the city's youth. Last year, she helped local students get inside the Democratic National Convention and meet important and influential people. She organized and ran a town meeting for 200 Cambridge youth who were able to work with Hollywood writers and professionals from the Kennedy School of Government to prepare for their respective workshops and youth town meeting. She was able to solicit the support of several young celebrities and secure the partnerships of MTV and Comcast.
Her work with the United Nations in New York has also enabled her to get local students involved in world affairs, better preparing them to take the lead in local government. This past spring she organized a United Nations visit for 30 CRLS and invited Newsweek Editor and McLaughlin Group commentator Eleanor Clift to meet with CRLS girls to discuss her new book on the Women's suffragist movement. Marjorie teamed up with HBO and Comcast to show the Iron Jawed Angels and purchase a copy of the book for each student. Marjorie is committed to inspiring and nurturing more women to run for office.
Quality of Life and Public Safety:
As Vice-Mayor, Marjorie is focused on public safety. In addition to her work with Cambridge officials, she has been a delegate to the Mayors for Peace, working on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament with municipal officials around the world.
Traffic, Parking, and Transportation:
Municipal Finance, City Budget, Assessments, and Property Taxes:
Marjorie outlined her plan in a home rule petition establishing a fair and predictable tax system for our residents. It calls for establishing a base rate at which property owners are taxed then locking in the assessment value. This assessment would not change until that property is sold. Then a new assessment would be made. Marjorie's petition also calls on the City to explore capping the percentage of tax increases for its residents. This is a common sense tax system that protects property owners and insures the City gets the revenue it needs while complying with state regulations.
Land Use, Planning, Economic Development:
Marjorie was the lead negotiator in the Riverside neighborhood negotiation with Harvard University over the Mahoney's nursery site on Memorial Drive. Thanks to Marjorie's hard work, the City secured a deed for open space on the riverfront complete with nearly a million dollars of available money for landscape and design. Her leadership negotiating this zoning agreement resulted in open space, less FAR and over 60 units of affordable housing. It is one of the accomplishments Marjorie is most proud of in her 6 years on the Council.
Human Services Programs:
Marjorie's commitment to youth is reflected in her support for public education and open space. But it goes further than that. Through her collaboration with the United Nations, Marjorie has secured opportunities for local students to take part in field trips and meetings with representatives at the UN. During the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Marjorie facilitated meetings between local students and political leaders, campaign workers and journalists.
As the daughter of a disabled Vietnam veteran and the chair of the City's Veterans' Committee, Marjorie has fought tirelessly for veterans and their families. She worked with the VA hospital to improve and expand health services, she stopped Governor Romney from cutting assistance to spouses of veterans and she is working with Veterans for Peace voicing opposition to the war in Iraq. Marjorie honors those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the Iraqi war by reading the names of fallen American soldiers at weekly Council meetings.
Open Space, Parks, and Recreation:
Energy, the Environment, and Public Health:
And, because nearly half of Cambridge's working age residents work in the City, Marjorie has supported a para-transit shuttle system that would reduce residents' reliance on their own cars to get to and from work every day. This will reduce traffic throughout Cambridge and further reduce air pollution.
Over the last 6 years, Marjorie worked to create stronger protections from the pollution of W. R. Grace asbestos filled land. She chaired a North Cambridge neighborhood-based hearing, which prevented WR Grace from bypassing the "tent and vent" regulations in the City ordinance. More recently, she has been negotiating with residents and Department of Environmental Protection to ensure that WR Grace land is bound by secure protections when DEP has finished its oversight. Marjorie also filed the first in the nation asbestos notification legislation to regulate how companies with asbestos contaminated land notify residents within 200 yards of any soil disturbance.
In her 6 years on the Council, Marjorie has worked on many Council policies so that affordable housing opportunities are available to low income families and seniors. Among those was an order that asked the Cambridge Housing Authority and Community Development Department to help individuals affected by Section 8 budget cuts find suitable housing.
She has also been working to create a policy that provides more Limited Equity Coop opportunities for Cambridge residents. In addition, she negotiated the creation of new affordable housing units and helped develop zoning laws that changed industrial land into residential property.
Arts and Public Celebrations:
Among her achievements:
It is important to note that Marjorie's efforts to push the living wage campaign at Harvard led to better compensation for employees at the University.
A brief reminder of some of Marjorie's efforts:
With regard to Marjorie's work with young people and civic participation, her leadership training and development opportunities for young people is also noteworthy. Her effort to involve youth in the political process as well as having meaningful opportunities to meet with decision makers is described in more detail below.
Cambridge Public Schools:
In this regard, Marjorie led a delegation of 30 CRLS students to the United Nations for educational briefings and invited Newsweek commentator Eleanor Clift to meet with 400 CRLS girls to discuss the women's voting rights movement. Additionally, she organized a town meeting for 200 Cambridge teens during the Democratic National Committee. That program aired on MTV. Because of her involvement with young people, this year's CRLS Senior Class President, Sumbul Sadiqqi, is quoted as saying: “Marjorie is a unique and supportive individual who has the ability to connect with people of all backgrounds and especially young people. I have watched Marjorie work for the betterment of Cambridge-she is a good role model and a generous mentor.”
|Page last updated June 16, 2009||Cambridge Candidates|