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Jonathan was born and raised in a blue-collar household in America's "snow capital" Buffalo, NY. The youngest of four children, Jonathan grew up with role models who taught him the importance of hard work, advised him on life, and instilled in him an appreciation for education and higher learning. Through their experiences and life's work, Jonathan's family has been a driving force and inspiration in his life. Jonathan's grandfathers were a WWII vet and a steel factory laborer. Jonathan's mother grew up in public housing and now works at a university. His father owns a small business with Jonathan's brother. One of Jonathan's sisters performs HIV/AIDS research, while the other serves on the conservation board in her town. Jonathan's brother-in-law is an engineer and sister-in-law a substance abuse social worker. Collectively, all of their experiences have helped to define Jonathan's views and have helped to shape his outlook on public policy.
Jonathan's family also played a significant role in his choice for higher learning. Jonathan attended a small state college just ninety minutes from his hometown and with encouragement from his family studied communications. He excelled in his studies and received the Arthur R. Maytum Scholarship after having been nominated by his professors. After graduation, Jonathan explored different career options but felt the pull of the east coast, initially moving to Boston before settling in Cambridge. Soon after, Jonathan decided to make Cambridge his home because he felt the city's sense of community, cultural enrichment, and unwavering acceptance of people from varied backgrounds were important qualities he wanted in a place he was going to call home.
Since moving to Cambridge, Jonathan has been an active member of the community and has taken great pride in his civic involvement. It is through this involvement that Jonathan has shaped his views on what he thinks are important issues for his community. Knowing that he wanted to become more involved in Massachusetts politics, Jonathan took a position as a communications director on Beacon Hill.
In his role as communications director, Jonathan has performed significant constituent affairs work; facilitating daycare vouchers for single moms, mediating problems between drivers and the registry of motor vehicles, and resolving conflicts between consumers and corporate entities. Also, Jonathan has played a role advocating policy and conducting legislative research on a range of issues including government accountability, park protection, drunk driving reform, and clean energy. Jonathan has also managed public outreach programs on stem cell research, global warming, and environmental protection.
Prior to his role on Beacon Hill, Jonathan had the honor of working with one of WBZ radio's preeminent broadcasters, David Brudnoy. As an onsite producer for Mr. Brudnoy's show, Jonathan honed his thinking and perspective to understand conflicting sides of an issue. This ability sets Jonathan apart, as he reserves judgment in people and ideas until knowing all of the facts. Jonathan is a truly open to new concepts and opinions.
Currently, Jonathan lives in mid-Cambridge and continues his civic activity. He is excited to pursue his campaign for Cambridge City Council for the opportunity to represent his adopted home and the city's constituents.
Cambridge can do more to offer the support, community, and employment opportunities for those who consider gang culture as their only option. We need to intercept young people before they choose this route and we need to identify measures that bring people back from a life of crime. There is much more that can be done to break the cycle of violence that threatens our neighborhoods and quality of life.
As city councilor, I will collaborate to engage young people, to encourage their involvement in a community outside of gang culture and to provide opportunities for educational and career development. Also, I will collaborate with public safety officials to vary police officer schedules and shift-changes, including walking-biking beats. In addition, I support an increase of community policing and the hiring of more police officers. More officers on the streets will provide greater safety and the better ability to discourage and apprehend offenders.
I believe education is at the core of many of the issues facing Cambridge and I believe we need a positive, collaborative approach with the school committee, superintendent, city manager & on the city council to continue to bring improvement to our schools.
As city councilor, I will support a contract extension for the superintendent and I will urge the school committee to renew his. I will support the superintendent, his plan, and ask tough but constructive questions that help work toward solutions. Also, we need to provide the appropriate level of funding and resources to our students and teachers, and build off of our relationships with local universities to increase opportunities for internships and outside-of-the-classroom learning experiences. Finally, I will promote the school district's achievements and work to motivate young people to volunteer in their community and in public service.
Fiscal Transparency and Accountability:
I'm not a conspiracy theorist and I'm reluctant to accuse any elected official of misdeeds until all of the evidence has been made public. I want to believe in the virtuousness of those who choose to go into public service. But, part of the job as an elected official is accountability for the reasons that we all know - sometimes officials compromise their better judgment not for the benefit of those who elect them. Consequently, when the image or appearance of wrongdoing happens, it needs to be answered swiftly and concretely, otherwise, the negative image of misconduct breeds into a significant distraction.
I believe it's time for new ideas, and fresh perspective in our city council, perspectives that value transparency and accountability. I believe we need to address the issues of incumbency on the city council and what occurs after repeated reelection of the same folks after decades. It's time for new blood.
Additional platform priorities:
(1) Synchronize traffic signals so that you can go from one end of Cambridge to the other in a reasonable amount of time. Synchronizing traffic signals eases traffic flow, reduces idling which is good for our air quality, is optimal at 25mph (it won't cause a speedway) and reduces speeding cars down neighborhood roads.
(2) Clean up Harvard and Central Squares, providing focus to the homeless situation and addressing those areas that consistently smell like trash and urine. I believe public restrooms are a good start but only a band-aid to this situation. The homeless need beds and mental health services provided by the state. I will work to provide these necessities. Also, I want to work with the Cambridge police to develop humane solutions to encourage homeless to go to shelters and with the DPW to enhance the cleaning of areas that consistently smell like urine.
(3) Improve snow removal service.
Snow removal is terrible as many do not shovel their sidewalks and the city could employ better enforcement of its ordinance. Typically, the snow becomes ice creating a public safety hazard for many including senior citizens, the disabled, and those with strollers.
Simply put, snow removal service needs improvement. My plan is tri-fold. First, there needs to be better enforcement for those who do not shovel their walks. If the city enforces the ordinance, there will be additional funds to hire workers to shovel. Second, allocate resources for seasonal, temporary snow emergency workers who will provide additional assistance to our DPW employees. We have a city full of people who are always looking for extra income. Third, there needs to be better coordination of snow pickup. There shouldn't be snow being pushed back and forth between sidewalk and streets and there shouldn't be mounds of snow in what should be available parking spaces for weeks. The city needs to have a better plan to pickup and dump snow.
(4) Implement a volunteer-based, public service program to help senior citizens with their day-to-day activities, such as getting with their groceries, cutting their lawn. It's a good way to get young people involved in public service and in their community. It will also help bridge the generation gap between young and older and that is good for Cambridge.
(5) Provide late-night dining solutions in the forms of late night bakeries, diners, and cafes,
(6) Expand bike lanes and increase the number of bike racks
Quality of Life and Public Safety:
In my experience living in Cambridge, a stabbing occurred steps from my home, a friend was robbed at knifepoint, and shootings occurred within a block from other friends' home (in broad daylight!). I have learned of a man being robbed, not once, but twice in the same night. I have reported gunshots in the evening, witnessed illicit activity outside the subway station, and observed the memorials resulting from violent crime. These happenings occurred in Mid Cambridge, Area 4, Cambridgeport, East Cambridge, Alewife, and Central Square-and certainly many more circumstances exist beyond my knowledge. Yes, crime can strike anywhere. But, more can certainly be done to ensure neighborhoods are protected. When neighborhoods are better protected, they will reflect a greater quality of life in our communities.
As city councilor,
Traffic, Parking, and Transportation:
As city councilor, I will work to:
As your city councilor, it will be my priority to create more opportunities to increase homeownership. Also, as your city councilor I will scrutinize capital projects to fully assess the need of each project. I will not rubberstamp construction projects just for the sake of spending your tax dollars. In addition, I will not support to increase the mayor's budget by 59% as what happened two years ago.
Government and Elections:
Land Use, Planning, Economic Development:
My approach to this argument is balance. The city should encourage development but not at the outlandish risk to a neighborhood.
As city councilor, I will advise the city manager and recommend commission appointees who only have the educational and professional credentials to perform the job. I will reflect the values of the neighborhood when zoning issues come forward. In short - I will not rubberstamp development and I will listen to the voices of the neighborhood. If you oppose a development because it hurts the neighborhood, I will side with you. If you oppose a developer for the sake of opposing development, then I think a larger conversation needs to be had. Generally, I am opposed to infill, but I will consider it under specific circumstances.
Over time, this is changing the look and feel of our community whereby it is having a negative effect on retaining the vibrant and urban culture that Cambridge is known and loved for.
As your city councilor, I will support policies that retain small business growth, while collaborating with neighborhood leaders to ensure that the culture of Cambridge is not slipping away. We have more than enough banks in Harvard and Central Square, don't we? Also, I will work to foster small business that reflects the creative culture of Cambridge.
Human Services Programs:
Examples of programs that I would like to fund are:
Open Space, Parks, and Recreation:
As a soccer player, tennis player and someone who participates in many athletic activities, I value parks that allow kids and adults the ability to lead healthy active lives. I support the development of parks for active recreation use and I will work to increase the number of these locations.
Energy, the Environment, and Public Health:
Arts and Public Celebrations:
As your city councilor, I will support respectful appreciation of internationalism and diversity. Also, as an aficionado of foreign cultures and diversity, I will be a leading participant in the celebration of all of our backgrounds. I personally enjoy interaction with others from all parts of the world and I will encourage visitors from our surrounding communities to join and visit Cambridge during our multicultural festivals.
However, sometimes the ambitions of the universities and city of Cambridge are not in sync and when these situations occur, strong university relations are important to mediate a reasonable, practical outcome.
In recent history, the universities have demonstrated intent and practice to expand their campuses into residential neighborhoods. The threat that this poses is that the over-expansion eliminates taxable property and revenue. Universities are tax-exempt institutions as defined by the IRS and are not held liable for property taxes to the city. When universities purchase property from Cambridge residents it reduces homeownership for that section of land and then the city loses out on any taxable income from the property. The end result of this is a decrease in city revenue and an increase in property taxes to homeowners. Also, keep in mind that the universities do not contribute to the cost of government services that serve the university student body.
Therefore, it is important to work with our universities so that their development does not come at the cost to the city's tax dollars while driving property values to the point where residents can no longer afford to maintain them. As your city councilor, I will draw a line in the sand to halt unnecessary, needless, and harmful expansion. However, I will maintain strong relations with the universities for they are partners in making Cambridge stronger.
The long-term effect to a decrease of civic participation has been a government run amuck and an unaccountable city council, not beholden to its constituency. Accountability is down and an unchecked city government will cater to its personal whims and interests such as increasing the Mayor's budget by 59% to boost its staff (to make work easier).
The low voter turnout speaks to candidates that do not resonate with the voters and to the lack of information disseminated to the public. As your city councillor, I will mobilize the electorate on issues that impact the city at the state level, such as the gerrymandering that divided the city into small chunks. I will work to organize Cantabrigians to demand reconciliation from the state for the gerrymandering that has taken place. Together, we will strengthen Cambridge by returning it to a united city with stronger electoral power.
|Page last updated October 28, 2007||Cambridge Candidates|