Charles Marquardt

Charles Marquardt
2011 Candidate for Cambridge City Council

Home address:
10 Rogers Street #1120
Cambridge, MA 02142

Contact information:
Tel: 617-586-6264

Send contributions to:
Committee to Elect Charles J Marquardt
P.O. Box 410005
Cambridge, MA 02141
[Donations can also be made online at]


  • Born in Boston (St. Margaret's Hospital) as the first of six children and raised in Billerica and Winchester, MA while working weekends and holidays at my father's Cambridge-based small business, Coady Florist.
  • My father bought Coady Florist in 1970 and my brother, Dan, has been running it for the last few years in a successful transition between generations.
  • Live in East Cambridge
  • BA in Biology and Economics from Williams College
  • MBA from Boston University
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Have spent time auditing small and large companies and municipalities for KPMG and managing operations for divisions of Wachovia Bank, including Evergreen Investments and Wachovia Alternative Strategies encompassing 200+ employees and contractors and annual budgets approach $100 million.
  • Lectured on Law at Boston University's School of Law where I taught lawyers accounting and analysis of financial statements
  • Launched my own small, Cambridge-based business in 2010, Mid Cambridge Cleaners
  • Avid runner, recovering golfer, middling basketball player and prolific reader.

Top Priorities:

Responsive Government
We talk about quality of life, safety, development pressures and how our children are being prepared for the future as if they are separate issues. I do not consider them separate. Rather they are linked through our government and how it responds to the issues facing each and every one of us. Some issues are more immediate, like removing snow after a storm, addressing a local crime issue or fixing a broken sidewalk. Others are longer term like developing a master plan for sustainable development, enhancing our infrastructure or funding employee benefit promises. Our government addresses these issues to varying degrees and to varying levels of success. Creating a culture in government that is more responsive to these issues will enhance our quality of life.

Sustainable Development
Continued development and redevelopment is critical for the future growth and success of the city and its current and future residents. We must work to make this development sustainable for the long term, not just from an environmental perspective, but from an adaptability perspective so Cambridge is ready to lead the next wave of innovation the way we have been a leader in the biotechnology revolution.

Planning for the Future
What we, as Cantabrigians, leave for the future will go a long way towards determining how we go down in history. We need to work to ensure that we are remembered fondly and with respect. This involves preparing our children to lead in the future while doing our best not to leave them with our debts. It is a goal we all have as individuals, to be remembered well after we have gone, I will work to ensure that today's Cambridge is remembered well in the future.

Quality of Life and Public Safety
People choose to live and work in Cambridge based on the quality of life that they think the city will provide. At its very core this means that people need to feel safe on our streets and in their homes; that our parks, playgrounds and open spaces are clean and in good repair; and that our neighborhoods are valued and protected.

Public safety is a large part of a good quality of life. I believe in community-based policing where the neighborhoods know their local officers and sergeants. I believe in a police force that shares information on crimes and issues in the community, the good and the bad, so that issues can be addressed promptly and collaboratively. I support increased bicycle and foot patrols where and when possible as well as expanded drug and gang units. It is vital that we address issues affecting our children as early as possible to provide for the best possible outcomes.

I favor the enforcement of ordinances and regulations, as this is what helps people follow the rules. This is equally true for roadway enforcement of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians as it is for noise created by the laboratories in our neighborhoods. We must work to encourage people to abide by the rules as we continue to grow otherwise we will not be safe on our streets or able to get a good night's rest.

Unfortunately, rodents are all too often a fact of urban life. But we have the ability to limit their impact on us if we work to keep our homes and businesses clean. The City needs to take a larger and more pro-active role in helping neighborhoods and neighbors deal with rodents. By working with home and business owners the City can help lead extermination efforts. Even more important, the City can apply pressure to those property owners who contribute to the rodent issue with their careless or negligent disposal or storage of trash.

Public safety is more than just police and fire. Public safety includes feeling safe on our streets and sidewalks, not just from attack, but also from the state of repair of our infrastructure. We need to do a better job maintaining our streets and sidewalks so that people feel as safe walking on our streets and sidewalks as they do being out and about in our neighborhoods.

Traffic, Parking, and Transportation
We have a limited amount of space, which we all share. Sharing requires common rules and common decency in dealing with each other. Too often when we talk about transportation, traffic and parking we speak about how to limit or inhibit one group of travelers to the benefit of another group. We need to move beyond the "us versus them" approach to traffic and parking and work towards a common solution that results in a better outcome for all of us. We also need to work wherever possible to make it easier for people to get out of their cars and use some other mode of transportation be it buses, subways, bicycles or walking.

Areas of Focus for the next Council

A. Green Line Extension
The extension of the Green Line from Lechmere Square to the Medford Hillside and ultimately Route 16 as well as a spur to Union Square in Somerville provides significant development opportunities for Cambridge and regionally in addition to the increased use of public transportation. The relocation of the Lechmere Station across the Monsignor O'Brien Highway and the opening up of the existing station location to redevelopment is the most visible impact to Cambridge. The opportunities are large and the benefits to Cambridge and the region significant. However, the MBTA and MassDOT have recently announced another delay in the Green Line extension, this time to 2018 – 2020. This delay put at risk jobs, economic development and improved health benefits from reduced automobile use. The response from the City of Cambridge has lagged that of Somerville and Medford. I have spoken frequently at public hearings on the Green Line extension and written multiple letters on its importance to Cambridge and the region. As your Councillor I will continue to be involved in the Green Line extension and the redevelopment of Lechmere Square and will advocate that the City of Cambridge provide a more visible presence at Green Line extension meetings and give the project and its importance to Cambridge a high priority.

B. Grand Junction Railroad
The proposed use of the Grand Junction Railroad to provide commuter rail service from Worcester to North Station through Cambridge crossing, at grade, 5 major streets (Mass Ave., Main Street, Broadway, Binney Street and Cambridge Street) does not make any sense at this time. I have participated in and testified at the public hearings on this proposal and cannot find how the benefits to Cambridge outweigh the negative impacts to traffic, health (they are proposing diesel trains) and our quality of life. I have supported and continue to support the efforts of Councillor and State Representative Toomey to put a halt to this proposal and seek better uses of the Grand Junction Railroad, uses that benefit the residents of Cambridge, including those residents in the neighborhoods where the tracks pass through on their way to and from North Station. There is a better use for these tracks than that currently proposed by MassDOT, as your Councillor, I will work with my colleagues to advocate with the Commonwealth and MassDOT for a better solution for Cambridge.

C. Parking and Rental Developments
The current real estate market has resulted in an increased demand and ability to finance rental real estate projects rather than ownership projects (condominiums). This trend has the potential to negatively impact neighborhoods where the rental developments are built as there is no requirement to "link" a parking space with a unit as there is in ownership developments. This can result in residents of the rental units choosing to park on the street rather than in rental spaces that can cost considerably more than a Cambridge resident permit. The result is parking "squeezes" and negative impacts to the quality of life. We need to review our current policies for these changes in market conditions and see if there are ways to work together to improve the quality of life for all our residents. Dealing successfully with these issues will enhance the quality of life for Cambridge residents and will continue to be a priority of mine as your City Councillor.

Municipal Finance
Cambridge has weathered past financial storms. However, we must not let past success drive complacency in the face of coming storms. We must work to ensure that our approach to municipal finance continues to be sustainable long term. This does not mean cutting the budget or reducing funding levels for the programs that make Cambridge a great city. It does mean looking at how we are spending our money and planning for our future obligations so we are not mortgaging the future to pay for the present. It does mean reviewing programs and departments to see if they are still needed or if the resources devoted to them can be redirected to other uses to benefit Cantabrigians.

We need to focus on our fiscal sustainability now lest we be faced with having to raise taxes, cut services, cut benefits, delay future capital projects, including much needed rehabilitations to elementary schools and the new middle school programs, or some combination of all four. We have the knowledge and resources to position the City to be a leader in meeting its current and future fiscal needs but we must start now and stop delaying the difficult discussions and decisions.

Cambridge's real estate taxes are among the State's lowest. A large part of the reason for the low tax rate is the significant development in Cambridge over the last couple of decades. The construction of new laboratory, office and residential buildings continues unabated in Cambridge. However, we must prepare for the day that development slows which could result in the need for higher taxes to sustain the services for which Cambridge has been acclaimed. As your Councillor I will focus on the current level of expenditures with an eye towards the future so that we are not placing our children and grandchildren's future fiscal stability at risk.

Government and Elections

Plan E Charter
From its inception, Plan E has served the City well. But, as with all things, there is always a benefit to review and analysis to see if there are changes that could be made to further improve the process by which government serves the taxpayers and residents of Cambridge. I would advocate for a review of the City's Plan E Charter to see if there are any ways that it could be further enhanced or if another form of government might serve the City better as it moves forward.

City Manager
Cambridge's current City Manager has ably served the City for over 30 years. The City Manager has been responsible for many of the successes achieved by Cambridge over his term of service. However, the City Manager will someday leave the position and the City Council will be charged with identifying and selecting a successor to the current City Manager. Planning for this transition needs to be a priority for the Council as the transition from a long-term incumbent takes time to identify the proper successor and appropriately transfer knowledge from the Current Manager to their successor. Starting now recognizes the difficulty and importance of this transition, whenever it does occur.

Mayoral Selection
One change in our Plan E form of government that I would advocate for a strong review of would be the method by which the Mayor is selected. Rather than the current Mayoral selection process whereby the Mayor is selected by the Councillors from amongst their own members, I would recommend a process whereby the Mayor is elected by a popular vote of the people of Cambridge. This would require further review to define the role of the Mayor, the Mayor's term (I would consider 4 years) and the Mayor's role in the day-to-day operation of the City. However, this is a change that has worked elsewhere and should be considered in Cambridge.

Commissions and Boards
The City has established Commissions and Boards over the years. For those required by statute I would advocate making their meetings available over CCTV or streamed over the internet so that people who cannot physically make the meetings would still be able to watch what happens. For those established by Council order I would advocate for a review of the commission or board and its stated purpose to see if it is still necessary or if its resources could be utilized elsewhere.

Participation in elections is a right for which many people yearn. It is a right that is dear to Americans and Cantabrigians. However, participation in municipal elections has not been at the level of that seen in statewide and national elections. We need to work to change that trend. Voters can have their largest impact in local elections and local elections can have the largest day-to-day impact on their lives. To increase voter participation in local elections I would support early registration of young adults before they turn 17 so that they are appropriately registered when they turn 18, early over the counter voting for those who may have difficulty voting on election day, coordination of Election Commission and civic group efforts to get people out to vote on election day which could include the use of the City's E-Alert system to remind residents of the upcoming elections, and year-round outreach by the Election Commission to ensure people are registering to vote when moving into the City.

Land Use, Planning, Zoning, Density
Cambridge is a small city with a rapidly declining supply of land on which to develop new projects or to set aside for use as open space, parks or gardens. Planning for the future use and development of these remaining parcels and the reuse of buildings currently being used for other purposes is critical to the future growth and success of Cambridge.

This starts with a Master Plan for how the city will grow. Where will new developments, commercial and residential, go? What areas can and should be set aside for open space? What neighborhoods can handle more density and which are already approaching or at the maximum density that they can handle? These and many other questions would be considered in the development of a Master Plan for Cambridge.

A Master Plan would allow Cambridge to be more proactive when dealing with development proposals. Today, we all too often respond to the plans and proposals of developers and large real estate investment companies. We react to their proposals for bigger, taller and denser buildings. We need to shift this dynamic to help build the city we want for now and into the future. As your Councillor I will work to put the city in a more proactive rather than reactive position when it comes to planning, zoning and development proposals.

Density is the issue we, as a city, face as we continue to grow, both in commercial developments as well as residential and institutional. We must continue to openly weigh the benefits and costs of density to ensure that no area of the city is being disproportionately impacted by density without implementing measures to limit the impacts of increased density to the extent possible.

Economic Development and Commerce
We are in the midst of a continuing tough economy. People, including far too many Cantabrigians, are having trouble finding work. We need to work to encourage sustainable development in Cambridge that creates jobs for today and tomorrow.

Economic development and expansion is critical to the City's future growth and success. A strong economic base of employers of all sizes in diverse industries provides the City with a steady stream of tax revenues and employment opportunities for current and future residents.

We need to focus on supporting our local small businesses and entrepreneurs. These businesses contribute to neighborhood vitality and often provide the first employment opportunities for neighborhood children. Yet the City often places barriers to the success of these very businesses on which the neighborhoods rely. As a member of a family that has run a small business in Cambridge for over 40 years and a proud founder of my own small, Cambridge-based business in 2010, I will fight to protect and preserve these cornerstones of our neighborhoods.

We also need to encourage small and large business to locate and grow in Cambridge. This starts with providing opportunities for incubator or start up companies from the universities to set up shop and thrive in the City. There is no reason that we should not be home to the vast majority of companies started at our local universities. We also need to work with our larger employers to help them overcome obstacles to staying and growing in the City. Part of working with employers to locate and grow in Cambridge is having a Master Plan that helps companies know what they can and cannot do in certain sections of the city. Having to request zoning changes and pay mitigation to the city when they look to grow and expand can lead companies to look elsewhere, to places where they may received benefits to relocate. Having a predictable process for growth will improve the ability of companies to locate and grow in Cambridge. As your Councillor, I will work to make Cambridge's rules and regulations more predictable for companies and residents.

One needs only look to the early adoption of biotechnology regulations by Cambridge and the advantage they provided in attracting companies in that industry to Cambridge. The city provided predictability and the companies chose to locate here in part because of the talented students and faculty at the local universities, but also because we had regulations that were understandable and predictable.

We also need to be looking to the future. We need to be preparing for the next generation of industries now. This does not mean we have to try and pick winners and losers. It does mean that we need to have regulations and plans in place to address the new industries as they start to develop. Being a leader in developing a regulatory framework often helps provide the lead in attracting the industry to your location. Working to have the industries of tomorrow locate in Cambridge is an area on which I will focus as your Councillor, it is how we will ensure a strong tax base into the future as well as jobs for future Cantabrigians.

Human Services Programs
Focus on Children
Childhood is when we develop many of the habits that affect the remainder of our lives. From learning to read and write to what we eat, this is when we establish many of the patterns for later in life. This is a time where we as a City and as neighbors can help make a lasting difference. We need to support programs that give children and their parents the information, tools and encouragement to be successful in these choices.

Focus on Young Adults
We have made significant promises to our young residents to provide them with an education and opportunities that will outfit them with the skills needed to have the opportunity for success later in life. But teachers and the schools cannot do it alone. We need to support programs that help provide our young adults with the tools necessary to make choices in their lives that prepare them for future success.

Focus on the Aging
We need to remember the people who helped build this city and make it great. Seniors are not the past they are a valuable resource for the present and the future. We need to support programs that allow them to age gracefully in a manner befitting all they did for us in building the city and raising us and our children and grandchildren.

Open Space, Parks, and Recreation
Cambridge has a limited supply of open space available for parks, recreation or future development. It is a precious resource that needs to be marshaled and protected. Open space, parks and fields help make Cambridge a livable City for those who live, work and go to school here. I have publicly advocated for increasing the amount of Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds allocated to open space from the current 10% to 20%. As your City Councillor I will advocate for the continued stewardship of this limited resource.

Energy, the Environment, and Public Health
We are stewards of our environment and we have an obligation to pass it on to our children and grandchildren in better condition than when we first received it. The need to be better stewards of our environment has become increasingly clear over the past decade. Governments, civic organizations and individuals have taken up efforts to reduce their energy consumption and impact on the environment. Cambridge has been a leader in many of these areas. Yet, the journey is just beginning, we must do better and we must continue to harness the know how resident in Cambridge's residents, businesses and universities to seek additional means to further limit our combined impact on our environment.

We have within our borders some of the brightest minds in the world working on groundbreaking technologies in clean energy. We need to seize the opportunity. Cambridge has been a leader in adapting its Zoning Laws to require energy efficiency considerations as part of zoning and planning. I support using zoning as a means to reduce new development's impact on the environment and its surroundings. I also support the City applying energy efficiency technologies to city-owned buildings when performing upgrades or other changes, it is important that we as a City continue to practice what we preach.

I support the use of hybrid and low-emission vehicles as part of the City's fleet. I also support reviewing the City's fleet to see if it can be reduced through redefining who needs a City-owned car and why.

The City must be responsive and pro-active when confronted with public health issues. One sick child quickly becomes a classroom full. A small bed bug infestation can quickly overwhelm and entire building if left unchecked. Prompt attention and responses to these matters requires that the City respond to resident concerns and, equally important, that residents report their concerns and not allow them to go unresolved. You are paying for and deserve a City government and City Council that responds to your issues and concerns and a proactive and open manner.

Over the past few years there has been much confusion and angst about changes at the Cambridge Health Alliance. Changes, including clinic closures, brought about by the precipitous decline in the local and national economy and reductions in the Commonwealth's budget combined with the continued escalation in health care costs. It is not an issue that Cambridge or the Council can solve alone. It is an issue that continues to vex us on a state, national and international level.

While the City and City Council alone cannot solve the issues facing Health Alliance, they can work to ensure that the residents of the City are provided with timely notice of proposed changes and ensure that changes proposed do not jeopardize the health and safety of Cambridge residents. Health care is important to us all and not knowing how changes will impact you can create a large stress in our lives. Cambridge residents deserve a clear and consistent message from all to help alleviate some of the concern that these changes bring.

The Cambridge Health Alliance is an integral part of our community as an employer, neighbor and provider of health car services. The Health Alliance needs a strong and vibrant City to help support its mission and goals. The City needs a strong and vibrant Health Alliance to help provide health care services to its residents across the entire spectrum of needs and demographics. We need to make sure we all continue working together to support this mutually beneficial relationship.

Cambridge is a desirable city in which to live. We have a community that is the envy of many. Desirability comes with a cost. The cost of housing in Cambridge has and continues to be significant.

We need to be able to and must provide assistance to our neighbors and fellow residents who need help in securing affordable housing. However, the number of people desiring to live in Cambridge and needing assistance will continue to outweigh our financial ability to provide support for affordable housing. There simply is not enough money, land or housing stock to meet the demand. Therefore, we need to continually evaluate our affordable housing plans to ensure that they are meeting the needs of today and planning for tomorrow. As your City Councillor I will work to ensure that the City and its agencies and boards are developing plans best designed to meet the needs of the City's residents.

There is another aspect of housing that we must also not forget and that is the housing for our seniors. After many years of contributing to society and making Cambridge great they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. This includes having senior housing that is not only affordable but is also a safe place for them to live. Safe from potential physical threat and, even more important, safe from threats to their health. We need to ensure that senior facilities in the City are not adding to the health woes that many of our seniors face.

Arts and Public Celebrations
Cambridge is a City with much to celebrate whether it be the success of a resident, a local university or the varied groups that help make the fabric of the city strong. We need to continue to encourage and support these celebrations from the larger citywide events to smaller neighborhood block parties.

University Relations
The many colleges and universities that call Cambridge home add to Cambridge's reputation as a diverse, unique and sophisticated city. They add greatly to the fabric of our community through their students, faculty and staff and the almost limitless opportunities that they provide for us to interact with a student body with boundless enthusiasm for what can be. However, the universities can also have a less benevolent side. Their expansion can overwhelm the character and livability of our neighborhoods. Our universities need to remember that many of their students elect to attend their institution precisely because it is located in Cambridge and that Cambridge contributes to their success just as the universities contribute to our success. What we all need to remember, Cambridge and university denizens alike, is that we share a common goal in ensuring that the relationship between the city and the universities is beneficial to all otherwise we risk destroying that which makes Cambridge and the universities great, our neighborhoods.

I support and will work towards increasing the benefits derived from the universities wherever possible including access to facilities, classes and resources for neighborhood groups, Cambridge Public Schools and other community members. I would also support negotiations with the universities to develop a way that their Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) more accurately reflect the burdens felt by the City, including the manner in which university owned commercial, tax-paying properties are transitioned off the tax rolls when the universities decide to use them for academic purposes. I would also support establishing PILOT payments for those institutions that do not currently make such payments or have no formal agreements in place.

When it comes to university expansion I support and will work towards the inclusion of requirements for meaningful public open space; affordable- and moderate- income housing for community members; restrictions on density, height and use of new buildings; and, of course, traffic and parking policies that are sensitive to neighborhood concerns.

The goal is not to "take" from the university, but to develop a common understanding of our shared goals for Cambridge and drive towards the alignment of our resources to ensure a positive outcome for Cambridge, our neighborhoods and the colleges and universities.

Civic Participation
Cambridge is stronger when its citizens are actively engaged in government. We need to encourage participation in neighborhood, civic and issues oriented groups. I will also propose an order that the City Council hold one meeting a month in each of the City's wards so that each ward get visited once a year. I would propose that these meetings not be business as usual meetings, but a meeting to hear the issues relevant to your neighborhood. You pay our salaries you should be able to expect us to come to you once in a while.

Public Schools, Innovation Agenda
Excellence in education is a must for Cambridge. We need to push to continue to close the achievement gap while raising the achievement bar for all students. Our goal must be to have the best school system in the state and the country. A strong public school system will help prepare our children for success in life regardless of what path they may choose to pursue. As your City Councillor I will work closely with my colleagues on the School Committee to ensure that the collaborative community between teachers, parents, students and neighborhoods is nourished and encouraged. I will also work for a budget that has plans that support student attraction, student retention and student achievement as its priorities.

The successful implementation of the Innovation Agenda is vital for the future of the Cambridge Public School system. The bulk of this work will be done by CPS Administration and teaches, parents, school groups and the Cambridge School Committee. The City Council is responsible for ensuring that the plans proposed and approved by the School Committee for capital spending and other budget changes are sustainable within the context of the greater Cambridge budget. As your Councillor I will work collaboratively with my colleagues on the School Committee as they prepare the capital plans for the Innovation Agenda with a goal of arriving at mutually agreeable solutions that drive the current and future success of the Cambridge Public Schools while remaining within the fiscal realities of Cambridge.

CCTV candidate video (2011)

Page last updated Wednesday, October 19, 2011 10:18 PM Cambridge Candidates