I am currently in my second term as Mayor of Cambridge having been first
elected in January 2002, having served on the City Council since 1994.
Prior to being elected to the City Council, I served as an Assistant
Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as well as an
Assistant District Attorney for Middlesex County. I am currently of
Counsel in an East Cambridge law firm, Bellotti & Barretto, P.C.. I am
a graduate of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School on Putnam
Avenue, Boston College High School, Boston College (BA Economics and
Political Science) and Boston College Law School (J.D.). My wife Denise
and I have two sons, Michael, Jr. who 6 years old and Paul who is 5 years
I am proud of the fact that I return all my phone calls personally and
that I take the time to listen and respond to people's concerns and
problems. People in our community need their city government to be prompt,
respectful and responsive. I don't simply preach it I practice it, I am
always just a phone call away to answer your questions or concerns, or to
lend a hand. You can reach me at home (617) 547-0777 or at City Hall. I
ask for your #1 vote on Tuesday, November 8th.
Quality of Life and Public Safety:
As a former prosecutor, I know that when it comes to public safety, you
prevent a lot of big problems if you take care of the little things right
away, whether it's fixing a broken sidewalk, replacing missing street
signs or clearing the snow effectively during the worst winters in years
to having programs that make a difference in people's lives. I have
lobbied Congress for Cambridge for homeland security monies and for open
space initiatives. When citizens call in with problems, I take the time to
listen - and take action to get things done.
In these uncertain times, making sure we can all feel safe and secure
also means making intelligent, focused investments where it counts - like
providing three new state of the art paramedic units for the Cambridge
Fire Department, which earned a coveted Class One rating.
Traffic, Parking, and Transportation:
I supported the PTDM ordinance and the vehicle trip reduction ordinance. I
likewise have been a major proponent of traffic calming measures in our
community and was the driving force in having the school zone signals put
up. When need to continue to work towards making our community walkable
and friendly. We have taken a number of measures towards this goal, first
in Central Square, now in Porter Square and soon in Harvard Square.
I have supported the creation and expansion of paratransit options in
our community and pushed the MBTA for better service and maintenance of
facilities and handicap accessibility.
I have supported large project reviews that include traffic impact
studies, as well as I was one of the lead sponsors of the nighttime truck
traffic ban and the creation of truck traffic routes and I continue to
work with the state for full implementation.
Municipal Finance, City Budget, Assessments, and Property Taxes:
At a time when many cities and towns are struggling, Cambridge is in a
position of strength. We have earned triple A bond ratings from three
rating agencies --- a mark of fiscal responsibility shared by just a
handful of cities across the country. Eric Kriss, Secretary of
Administration and Finance said that Cambridge is one of the only
communities in the Commonwealth that lives within its means.
The result, for the people of Cambridge, a city government strong
enough to make visionary investments in our future. One hundred years ago
our forebears had the foresight and invested in a water works, a library,
and a park system. We today have re-invested in that future through a new
water works that delivers a higher quality and safer water product to our
residents at a cheaper price than the MWRA, we have invested in what will
be a new state of the art central library, a critically needed new police
station that will give us the capability to respond to the needs in our
community and a wide range of award winning parks that are the envy of our
As chair of the Council's Finance Committee for eight years, I know
better than anyone that our financial strength didn't come easily.
Preserving that strength for the future - while making city taxes more
equitable and fair - demands the kind of prudent, forward looking
leadership that I have give for the past twelve years and will do so in
Land Use, Planning, Economic Development:
I am interested in using zoning and other land use planning tools to
assist people of moderate, middle and low income to find affordable
housing in Cambridge as well as using these same tools to aid us in
reaching our other goals, including but not limited to making Cambridge a
walk able community, paratransit possibilities, open space and green
development. I am committed to coordinate and facilitate the review of
public policy issues facing the City such as housing, transportation,
economic development and employment and coordinate the analysis and
development of important public policy initiatives.
I have worked hard to attract and retain solid businesses in this
community without relinquishing quality of life issues. Many of these
companies cite that we have regulations that govern construction and
operation already in place so that requirements are predictable. During my
tenure I have worked to retain businesses that were thinking of leaving as
well as recruit businesses to our city that are also good corporate
citizens, I am proud that I was able to assist in attracting Novartis,
Oragnon and others.
Human Services Programs:
Open Space, Parks, and Recreation:
I am proud of the fact that our parks system is the envy of our
surrounding communities. Our rehab of existing space has maximized both
active and passive uses of our open space. I supported the Master Plan for
the Fresh Pond Reservation, as I believe that the reservation is one of
our crown jewels that we need to be good stewards of so that it will be
preserved for generations to come. As the father of a 5 and a 6 year old I
believe that we need to work now on preserving the Alewife as the special
and unique place that it is in an urban environment.
As budget chair and as Mayor I have sought and secured funding for both
the preservation of existing space and the acquisition of new open space.
Energy, the Environment, and Public Health:
I am active in preserving the environment's treasures that this city has
to offer, including the Alewife Reservation. I have been a supporter of
the Friends of the Alewife for a long time, participating in various
events throughout the year. I have participated in clean ups, have
supported city improvement projects and encouraged efforts to work with
the towns of Belmont and Arlington and various environmental groups to
share Cambridge's Alewife Reservation area.
I was the driving force on the City Council's adoption of the Fresh
Pond Master Plan and have worked to maintain the integrity of the plan,
with the underlying premise being the protection of the reservation and
the water supply.
I have joined in the request that the city hire an energy manager, both
in terms of saving and to have a better impact on the environment.
I am very proud that I was invited by Robert Redford to Sundance Summit
this past summer to present to the Mayor's Climate Protection Campaign,
along with Al Gore and Mayor Dailey from Chicago. I referenced some of
initiatives we are doing in Cambridge and the lead we have taken to ensure
an eco friendly environment. These initiatives include making our city
more walkable, better use of alternative fuels, zoning requirements to the
city construction of a gold standard green building.
I secured for the city 25 GEM electric vehicles at no cost ($250,000
value) for use around the city. Additionally, we have fitted our trucks to
use bio-diesel fuel and in this budget cycle we are continuing our efforts
for fuel efficiency environmental standards.
On health care I am proud of what we have done with the Cambridge
Health Alliance towards providing better health care opportunities to all
our residents and that it is based upon a continuum of care model. Just
last week we opened a new and expanded maternity ward, which delivered
nearly 1500 babies last year, hard to believe that this unit was
considered for closing approximately 10 years ago. We have established a
good network of neighborhood health clinics.
I have made affordable housing a top priority, in one of the most
expensive housing markets in this country. In the past ten years,
Cambridge has invested approximately $250 million, with leverage capacity,
in affordable housing - more that any other city in Massachusetts. The
result more than 2,000 affordable units created or preserved with hundreds
more in the pipeline. The high cost of housing remains an urgent issue -
for the elderly, young families, for low and moderate-income individuals.
I continue to push for housing proposals that will likewise meet the needs
of moderate and middle-income households.
Arts and Public Celebrations:
We have increased our focus in this area with the opening of the new ART
center in Harvard Square. We need to look at ways to develop more art
spaces in our community; it will further enhance our community. I am proud
that over the last two years I have been able to secure private funding
that enable the City to have such events as the Central Square World's
Fair and Salsa at Sunset.
Under my leadership the city council has created a standing committee on
university relations. This committee strives to continue the dialogue to
foster excellent relationships between the neighbors and the universities,
sharing of long-range plans and creative ideas. Additionally, I have
sought and attained further points of contacts as it relates to our
schools, particularly in enhancing our science and math programs. I am
proud that the City has negotiated new “in lieu of ” taxes
agreements with Harvard and MIT and that for the first time MIT's has a
written agreement that will help preserve our stability for decades to
What makes Cambridge a great and world-class city is its people, its
history, its institutions and its various businesses. Cambridge has so
much to offer to local residents, employers and visitors. But we cannot
take this for granted. I encourage citizens to look at programs such as
Cambridge School Volunteers, opportunities to serve on various boards,
neighborhood associations and for businesses to continue to support our
schools, our community and our human service programs. Cambridge had been
very fortunate in the past with good corporate citizenship. I have been
visiting CEO of our corporations and institutions to encourage their and
their employees' involvement in our community.
Cambridge Public Schools:
Thanks to my steady, commonsense leadership, the Cambridge Public Schools
are stronger than ever, with a visionary new superintendent whose fresh
approach is making our schools more accountable and effective for all
children. By asking tough questions about declining enrollment,
achievement gaps and rising costs, my school committee colleagues and I
spearheaded urgent reforms and led the charge in shifting funding away
from administration and paperwork towards real classroom results. Today
the school system is moving forward briskly with new optimism and
I have focused much of my time and efforts promoting literacy initiatives,
including the "Let's Talk" Campaign, "Share A Book Anytime
Anywhere" Initiative and Back Pack Express mailing encouraging home
based literacy. To support these initiatives I have read at numerous
pre-school programs, invited students to City Hall, given out books and
spoke to home daycare providers, as well as sought funding from
governmental entities and foundations.