The 2013 Cambridge Candidate Pages are now at http://vote.cambridgecivic.com
David Maher is committed to serving the citizens of Cambridge by ensuring local government is open and responsive to the needs of the community. Elected four terms to the School Committee and six terms to the City Council, Maher has proven his common sense leadership approach to tackling issues has enhanced the lives of his fellow citizens. David is always ready to roll up his sleeves to do the necessary work required to effect positive change.
During his tenure as Mayor, he has advocated for improving the public education system, forging new partnerships throughout the city, and providing quality constituent services to citizens. This year, Cambridge completed a major renovation of CRLS, identified a permanent home for the Adult Community Learning Center and won national awards for the City's green building and community health initiatives.
Throughout his years in public office, he has earned the reputation of a "consensus builder" by, time after time, bringing together interested parties and helping them to foster mutually beneficial agreements. Maher believes that citizens, business leaders and government officials need to work together to solve the issues our city faces. Whether it is resolving zoning issues, improving our public education system, or building partnerships with Cambridge's businesses or educational institutions, Maher's approach to solving problems will help ensure that Cambridge remains the best place to live, work and visit.
David Maher is a lifelong resident of Cambridge who lives on Appleton Street, just around the corner from the Blakeslee Street house where his parents raised their four children. He understands the importance of having and maintaining vibrant neighborhoods in Cambridge.
As Mayor, David Maher has continued to advocate for neighborhoods by bringing countless neighborhood coalitions together to work with the city to improve existing zoning requirements and reducing the potential density in neighborhoods with large non-conforming structures. Mayor Maher recognizes that Cambridge is a dynamic community and the zoning requirements that made sense 30 years ago, may not fit today's needs. Maher believes that the best solutions can only be found through active participation from stakeholders.
As part of the Mayor's commitment to improve Cambridge, David appointed a special Mayoral Red Ribbon Commission, which is charged with studying the issues facing Central Square. The goal of this Commission is to bring together stakeholders in the square to form a plan that will revitalize the area for both residents and small business owners alike.
During his time on the City Council, David has worked tirelessly to promote the acquisition of and capital expenditures for improving and expanding parks and open spaces that have become sanctuaries from urban life. As a proud sponsor of little league baseball in both West and North Cambridge, Maher understands the impact that quality parks and open space have on recreational opportunities for both children and adults.
Business and University Relations
A graduate of Suffolk Universitys School of Management, and former longtime Director of Development for Cambridge Family and Children Services, David Maher began his career in local government in 1991. Mayor Maher understands the importance of fostering positive relationships with our local business and Universities.
Colleges and universities are an integral part of the fabric of Cambridge, maintaining healthy relationships with the city's universities can greatly benefit the people of Cambridge. To this end, David founded and was the First Chair of the City's University Relations Committee. David 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.
Businesses not only provide the economic engine of Cambridge but also provide important services to many neighborhood and community projects. Mayor Maher has worked to make sure businesses, in Cambridge, can be good-community partners. This term, the Mayor is working to develop a formalized relationship among the Cambridge business and academic community and the Cambridge Public Schools. Additionally, he is working with local leaders in the business community and relevant agencies to promote programs that encourage residents and visitors to shop at Cambridge Businesses.
David Maher has spent most of his professional life working on behalf of children and families. He served eight years as a member of the School Committee, and spent seventeen 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. These roles have given him a real understanding of the educational challenges and needs of our diverse community. For many families in our city, private schools are not an option; strong public schools help prepare all children for life's challenges. Cambridge has a long history of supporting public education and, this year, with the passage of the Innovation Agenda, David was instrumental in renewing the commitment to make Cambridge's schools an excellent urban school system. This plan will result in both the rebuilding of four of our elementary schools and the formation of an academically rigorous middle grade program aimed at better preparing our children for success in high school.
Energy, the Environment and Public Health
David has a long commitment to public health in our community. He has 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. This initiative helped fund a public health outreach campaign that raised awareness among youth about the harmful effects of tobacco products. When he was the Co-Chair of the Ordinance Committee, David was instrumental in helping to make Cambridge a smoke-free community.
David has focused on several other important environmental and public health issues during his tenure on the Council. David led the Alewife rezoning process through the Council that successfully resulted in a 200 hundred-car surface parking lot being converted back to wetlands. In addition, David has voted in favor of funds needed to protect Cambridge's water supply from harmful pollutants. During this term as Mayor, David Maher reconvened the Cambridge Climate Congress to help facilitate the next steps that this group and the City need to take to achieve the goals outlined in the 2009 Climate Congress Report.
It has become increasingly difficult to maintain the vibrancy and diversity which makes Cambridge such a special place to live. David successfully worked to promote public/private partnerships that will result in hundreds of new affordable housing units becoming available for Cambridge residents. He has consistently supported efforts to respond to working families in Cambridge by promoting homeownership opportunities for middle-income families. David 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. David will continue to support sensible housing policies that will help those most in need.
During this term, Mayor Maher appointed a Silver Ribbon Commission. This Commission is assessing the future needs of Cambridge seniors while also assessing how city services will need to change in order to meet the future demand of our seniors.
Public Safety and Quality of Life
As the son of a Cambridge Police Officer, David understands that safe streets and neighborhoods are essential to preserving the health and security of our residents. David Maher has worked to provide high quality public safety services and to maintain public confidence in these services. He supported the appropriation for the Public Safety Facility in East Cambridge and has advocated for increased community policing patrols in our neighborhoods. Cambridge's emergency response teams are leaders in the Commonwealth's public safety sector, in part, because of the training and equipment purchases that the city has made. David is proud supporter of funding for these initiatives.
Traffic, Parking and Transportation
Cambridge deserves safe, efficient roads and sidewalks. In the interest of making a safer, more pedestrian friendly City, David has supported a number of road and sidewalk improvements including: traffic calming measures, road enhancements in Harvard Square, Porter Square, and Central Square. David supports the concerns raised by residents regarding traffic issues. One such issue has been the problem of cut-through traffic which jeopardizes the safety of our streets. During his term as Mayor, David has secured funding to expand programs such as CycleKids and the Green Streets Initiative. The Green Streets Initiatives mission is to promote the use of sustainable, active transportation; CycleKids mission is to get children on bicycles and engage them in a physical activity that addresses health and emotional issues facing today's under-active, and often, overweight children. Because of the funding that David helped secure, the CycleKids program will expand to each Cambridge elementary school.
Municipal Finance, City Budget, Assessments and Property Taxes
While many cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth and nation are facing extremely difficult financial times, resulting in the loss of essential public safety and educational services, Cambridge continues to maintain a strong financial position. In fact, Cambridge has the lowest residential property tax rate of any city in Massachusetts and, unlike our federal government, we continue to maintain the highest bond rating possible.
Prior to being Mayor, David served as chair of the City Council's Finance Committee. As a Cambridge homeowner, David has experienced, first-hand, the impact of sharp increases in property assessments on area residents. No taxpayer should ever receive a 40%, 50% or 100% increase in their property taxes. David has personally walked countless individuals through the complex abatement process, including many seniors and longtime residents who are especially hard hit by sharp increases. In the past, David raised an alarm over the number of property valuations that appeared to be inflated and called for the creation of a Special Committee on Taxation which continues to explore possible changes to property tax legislation.
Working to promote a sense of community throughout all our neighborhoods is an important component of maintaining the vibrancy of our city. In an effort to increase feedback and participation from residents, David was instrumental in making Cambridge's first World Café (a type of citywide focus group) a reality. This term as Mayor, David worked to ensure that parents and the community had unprecedented opportunities to learn about and comment on the plan to transform our elementary schools to a K-5 system with 4 upper schools. Meetings were held throughout the city, on weekends, and in each of the elementary schools. Not only does David strongly support efforts to increase the quality of communication with the public but also supports utilizing our resources more efficiently and effectively to engage all segments of our community.
Candidate's 2009 responses Candidate's 2007 responses