David Maher

David Maher
2005 Candidate for Cambridge City Council

Home address:
120 Appleton St.
Cambridge MA 02138

Contact information:
Tel: 617-354-VOTE
Website: www.davidmaher.org 
e-mail: Dmaher2005@aol.com 

Send contributions to:
David Maher Committee
2298 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02140

David is a lifelong resident of Cambridge who graduated from Suffolk University, School of Management. He began his work in government in 1991 when he was first elected to the Cambridge School Committee. He served four terms on the School Committee, and was elected to the Cambridge City Council in 1999. Earning a reputation as a consensus builder, he was elected Vice Mayor by his colleagues on the Council during his first term.

David is the Chairman of the Government Operations and Rules Committee and served as Co-Chair of the Ordinance Committee for 4 years and was founder and first Chairman of the University Relations Committee.

In addition to his work on the Council, David has served for the past 13 years as the Director of Development for Cambridge Family and Children's Service, a multi-service, non-profit agency serving the critical needs of children and families in our community. He is proud to sponsor little league baseball in both West and North Cambridge. David's work on behalf of children and families has helped shape who he is as a City Councillor.

David has a long commitment to health issues in our community, having served as the President of the Cambridge Chapter of the American Cancer Society as well as Citywide Chair of the Coalition for a Healthy Future, the initiative that helped educate young people about the harmful effects of tobacco products. As the Co-Chair of the Ordinance Committee, he was instrumental in making Cambridge smoke-free.

David has been an advocate for working men and women, and is proud to have the support of several labor unions including:
Greater Boston Labor Council
Carpenters-Local 40
Laborers International Union Local 151
Allied Trades Council 35

Top Priorities:

  • Keeping Cambridge Affordable
  • Protecting Neighborhoods
  • Improving Cambridge Public Schools

Quality of Life and Public Safety:
As the Chair of the Government Operations Committee, I believe strongly in the Council's goal of providing high-quality public safety services and maintaining a high level of public confidence in these services. We need to respond to neighborhood concerns in an efficient and thoughtful manner. Safe streets and neighborhoods are essential to preserving the health and security of our residents. I supported the appropriation for the new Public Safety Headquarters to be located in East Cambridge. I have advocated for increased police patrols on our streets as well as neighborhood gatherings aimed at acquainting residents with public safety personnel. I have also supported the necessary training and equipment purchases that have resulted in our emergency response team being recognized as a leader in the Commonwealth.

I believe that we need to provide residents with excellent customer service and continually strive to update the public on City issues and services. I have worked to ensure that neighborhood shopping districts remain strong and have encouraged residents to support these businesses in order to keep healthy and vital shopping districts throughout the city.

Traffic, Parking, and Transportation:
Residents of Cambridge deserve to have safe, efficient roadways and sidewalks throughout the city. That is why I have supported a number of roadway and sidewalk improvements, including traffic calming measures, aimed at making a safer, more pedestrian friendly Cambridge, including road enhancements to Harvard Square, Porter Square, and Central Square.

I also advocated for the creation of the Neighborhood-Ten Study Committee, a group of concerned residents appointed by the City Manager who have been working for over a year on a number of quality of life issues including the problem of cut-through traffic, which jeopardizes the safety of our streets.

Municipal Finance, City Budget, Assessments, and Property Taxes:
As a Cambridge homeowner, I experienced first-hand the negative impact that last year's sharp increases in property assessments had on area residents. No taxpayer should ever receive a 40%, 50% or 100% increase in their property taxes That is why I immediately raised my concerns regarding an alarming number of property valuations that appeared to be inflated. I also provided many homeowners with the backup information needed to file persuasive abatement applications. Subsequently, I personally walked countless individuals through the complex abatement process, including many seniors and long time residents who were especially hard hit by these sharp increases.

Addressing the underlying causes, I called for the creation of a Special Committee on Taxation, which is currently exploring changes to property tax legislation. My efforts have resulted in improved communication with taxpayers and a reduction in the number of tax districts, which will have a stabilizing effect on property values.

Land Use, Planning, Economic Development:
As co-chair of the City's Ordinance Committee for four years, I provided the leadership necessary to successfully guide the City Council through the most comprehensive down zoning in the last 50 years. These changes balance the strong desire of neighborhoods to decrease traffic and improve living conditions with the need for lasting economic stability. Restrictions on parking, building heights, density, and the screening of rooftop mechanical equipment were all enacted with my leadership. All of these restrictions will make Cambridge a more livable community for all our residents.

Human Services Programs:
Besides being a Cambridge City Councillor, for the past thirteen years I have been the Director of Development for Cambridge Family and Children's Service, a non-profit organization that provides adoption, respite, foster care and mentoring services for children and families in need. This experience has given me a unique understanding of the problems, issues and challenges facing today's families. I continue to be a strong advocate for quality City programming which serves the needs of children of all ages and our seniors.

Open Space, Parks, and Recreation:
I have worked tirelessly to promote the acquisition and capital expenditures needed for improving and expanding our parks and open spaces that have become sanctuaries from urban life:

  • Supported the $13 million dollar capital expenditure that made the long overdue renovations to Russell and Donnelly Fields a reality. The completed improvements to Donnelly Field include: little league and softball fields, an updated tot lot, and new bleachers, turf, and lights. Soon to be completed Russell Field renovations will include: a new football/multi-use field, two new little league fields and a state-of-the-art field house.
  • Committed to improving the quality of our neighborhood parks, I voted in favor of the funding needed to complete the renovations of: the Lowell Street Park, Dana Park, Charles Park tot lot, Bergin Park and Rev. Williams Park. I am also pleased to report that planning is underway for the complete renovation and restoration of the Tobin School Park, Alden Park/Baldwin School, and the Gold Star Mothers Park.
  • I led the negotiations with Harvard University that secured two major victories for the taxpayers of Cambridge:

    1) The creation of 40 units of affordable housing, including middle-income units, to be built in the Riverside neighborhood.

    2) A new 40,000 square foot park to be built along Memorial Drive. Both of these projects will be funded entirely by the University.

  • Supported the creation of new open space at 238 Broadway in area IV.

In addition, I led the Alewife rezoning effort through the Council that resulted in a 200 hundred-car surface parking lot being converted back to wetlands.

Energy, the Environment, and Public Health:
I understand the importance of ensuring the health and safety of the residents of Cambridge and future generations to come. That is why I have focused on several important environmental and public health issues during my last term on the Council:

  • As the Co-Chair of the Ordinance Committee, I was instrumental in making Cambridge smoke-free.
  • Responding to fears expressed by North Cambridge residents' regarding environmental issues at the W.R. Grace site, I met with residents and supported council action calling for the continued involvement of the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • I led the Alewife rezoning effort through the Council +that resulted in a 200 hundred-car surface parking lot being converted back to wetlands.
  • I voted in favor of funds needed to protect Cambridge's water supply from harmful pollutants.

Maintaining the vibrancy and diversity that makes Cambridge such a special place to live has become increasingly difficult. I have successfully worked to promote public/private partnerships that will result in hundreds of new affordable housing becoming available for Cambridge residents. I have consistently supported efforts to respond to working families in Cambridge by promoting homeownership opportunities for middle-income families. I worked for the passage of the Community Preservation Act, which allows Cambridge to leverage our annual commitment to affordable housing to its current level of $11 million dollars a year. I will continue to support sensible housing policies that will help those most in need.

Arts and Public Celebrations:

University Relations:
I believe that establishing a healthy relationship with the City's Universities can greatly benefit the people of Cambridge. That is why I founded and was the First Chair of the City's University Relations Committee.

I also led the negotiations that resulted in Harvard University agreeing to build 40 units of affordable housing as well as a new 40,000 square foot park along Memorial Drive at no cost to Cambridge Taxpayers.

Civic Participation:
I believe that its important to do everything we possibly can to foster a sense of community throughout our neighborhoods. I have supported a variety of efforts to bring Cambridge people together, including Danehy Park family day and the citywide dance party, which are two very popular community events enjoyed by residents of all ages. The dance party closes down Mass. Ave in front of city hall for an evening of fun and enjoyment for families of all ages. Danehy Park family day is an all day event that is held each year featuring arts and crafts, rides, food, music and performances, as well as a variety of non-profit and educational services that are available in the City.

Cambridge Public Schools:
As a former eight-year member of the School Committee, I have a real understanding of the educational challenges and needs of our diverse community. I recognize that most families cannot afford to send their children to private schools. That is why we must continue to improve the Cambridge Public School System. Strong Public Schools will help prepare our children for life's challenges and attract young families to our City. Cambridge has a long history of supporting public education and we need to renew our commitment to excellence.

Page last updated July 01, 2007 Cambridge Candidates