Minka vanBeuzekom

Minka vanBeuzekom
2009 Candidate for Cambridge City Council

Home address:
20 Essex Street
Cambridge, MA 02139

Contact information:
Tel: 617-945-1026 (home)
website: www.MinkaforCambridge.org
e-mail: Minka@MinkaforCambridge.org
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MinkavB
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/MinkaForCambridge

Send contributions to:
The Committee to Elect Minka vanBeuzekom
20 Essex Street
Cambridge, MA 02139

From Minka's campaign website:

• Wellesley College, BS-Molecular Biology
• Boston University, Masters in Public Health Environmental Health and Epidemiology

• Researcher at MIT Cancer Center
• Researcher at Harvard/McLean Hospital
• Infectious Disease Epidemiologist, Mass. Department of Public Health
• Vice President, biotech start-up company
• Managing Director, non-profit medical research foundation
• Professional gardener

• Mystic River Watershed Association, Board Member
• Area Four Neighborhood Coalition, Co-Leader
• Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET)
• Green Decade Cambridge
• Former Cambridge Environmental Citizens Organization (ECO), Treasurer
• Cambridge Democratic City Committee
• Ward 3 Democratic Committee
• Local and national campaign volunteer
• Cambridge Rodent Task Force
• Cambridge Community Garden Coordinator
• Master Urban Gardener (MUG)
• Cambridge Public Planting Committee
• Hospice Volunteer

Many people have inspired me to run for public office including our current president, city councilors and neighbors and colleagues in Cambridge. Ensuring clean, safe neighborhoods, strong schools, responsive public employees and sustainable fiscal management are important to all of us, but not everyone is paying attention.

I have been paying attention.

As a neighborhood advocate looking at city government from the outside, I understand how difficult it can be to make a difference in such a complex city, but I believe we can do better. We CAN have clean and safe streets, energy efficient buildings, good schools, flourishing gardens and open spaces. This is a city built on its people; we CAN keep our best and brightest in the community with better job opportunities and affordable options for housing. Cambridge is a progressive city, leading the way in technology, medicine, education, and energy and climate change initiatives. Doesn't it make sense to have all these reflected in our city government?

As a city councilor, I will keep all these things in perspective as I recommend improvements. I will be open minded and remain connected to the people, neighborhoods and communities of Cambridge.

I have lived in Cambridge for 28 years, raised my daughters here, am a home-owner, a landlord and I love the City. I am committed to making this city the best it can be for renters, homeowners, students and businesses. We have achieved many remarkable things here and I plan to continue the tradition. Join me in making the city what we know it can be.

Give Minka your #1 vote in November.

Neighborhood Advocacy:
Minka has been a leader in the Area Four Neighborhood Coalition for the past three years, encouraging neighbor participation and increasing awareness around quality of life issues for urban residents and businesses. Minka believes if the city partners with the neighborhood organizations and provides support, residents will become more active and involved. Communities and city government working together, get results that benefit neighborhoods. Minka has seen it work in her neighborhood and others in Cambridge. Improving transparency of local board and commission appointments will also encourage residents to become more engaged.

Healthy Environment:
Minka was instrumental in orchestrating the current city council’s recognition of a state of Climate Emergency in May 2009. She believes awareness of a Climate Emergency should trigger new energy traditions such as strong conservation, efficiency and on-site renewal energy policies. She strongly believes in the weatherization projects that HEET and the Cambridge Energy Alliance are promoting. She serves on the board of the Mystic River Watershed Association and works with other organizations to stop sewage dumping in the Mystic River and its tributary, Alewife Brook. As one way of proving her commitment to the environment, Minka rides her bike instead of driving within the city several days a week. This also gives her true appreciation of life on the urban streets of Cambridge.

Children, Families and Education:
Minka would like to build a bridge between the city council and the school committee to help create healthier, stronger schools reflective of the diversity of the city. The collaboration should include common topics like green building standards and budgetary decisions that affect everyone. Minka supports fair educational practices, equal opportunities for all students and a trans-fat free menu in schools. She supports an inclusionary model of education and high standards for all children throughout grade levels. Believing in the value of the public school system, she helped establish the Cambridgeport School in the early 1990s. Minka raised her two daughters in Cambridge and they attended public schools. She has three grandsons and creating a sustainable future for them is at the core of her desire to serve the city.

Fiscal Health:
In these tough economic times, paying close attention to the city's revenue and expenses is critical to maintain the city’s fiscal health. There are enormous financial and advisory resources in Cambridge, a hub of high-tech and biotech companies and world renown Universities. Minka believes encouraging those businesses tostay and provide good jobs is critical for the city to thrive. Encouraging residents to shop at local businesses keeps the city’s economy stable and helps current businesses. Cambridge must continue to continue to be an open and welcoming place for new students and businesses.

Minka knows that to balance the needs of businesses, residents and universities can be tricky. It is a delicate and complex process which will require careful oversight and willingness to make tough decisions as the economy declines further.

Cleaning up Cambridge:Minka vanBeuzekom
As a member of the Cambridge Rodent Task Force, Minka spearheaded the initiative to get rid of rats in Central Square and acquire covered solar garbage cans for the city. Her work has helped reduce rats, reduce odor and improve cleanliness and health standards for everyone. Minka was one of the initiators of curbside recycling as part of Cambridge Environmental Citizens Organization (ECO) in the early 1990s. She was involved in the recent citywide clean-up event and focused on Central Square's "nips and butts". She will work for more aggressive graffiti removal programs and enforce the ban on public consumption of alcohol in the squares.

Community Gardens, Open Space and Culture:
Minka is an active community gardener and community garden advocate. She also gardens professionally. She is a member of the Public Planting Committee and has been growing veggies, herbs and flowers in Cambridge Community Gardens for years. She volunteers with a group of residents who tend plantings in public pocket gardens and tree wells. She wants to preserve current community spaces and create more public open space for community recreation. Minka believes in urban city models that support mixed-use in the community. She sees public musicians, public art and city sponsored entertainment as a necessity to keep city life lively and joyous.

Health Standards:
As an Epidemiologist, Minka understands the current health issues including infectious disease, obesity and environmental asthma. She seeks improvements in biosafety standards, air quality standards, emergency preparedness, food quality and walkability that will contribute to healthier communities for current and future generations. Her education in Public Health and molecular biology and her experience as an epidemiologist gives her a valid voice and gets her issues addressed.


CCTV candidate video
Sept 9, 2009 Candidate Forum

Page last updated October 24, 2009 Cambridge Candidates