I have lived in the same house for 20 years where I have raised three
wonderful daughters: Nina, a CRLS and Bowdoin College graduate; Vanessa, a
CRLS graduate and student at UMass Boston; and Angela, an eighth grader at
Shady Hill. Four years ago I moved my 91-year-old dad in with me. In my
two decades of living in Cambridge, I have become passionate about this
city, its people, its neighborhoods, and the opportunity to build a model
world-class community. Cambridge is a great place, but I know that by
working together, we can make it a better place to live, learn, work, and
Doctorate in Rehabilitation Counseling, Boston University
Masters of Arts in Education, University of Maryland
Bachelor of Arts in Counseling, Boston University
Massachusetts Licensed Guidance Counselor
Professional & Community Activities:
- Counseled individuals with psychiatric disabilities and advised on
- Taught at BU's Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation.
- Served as a board member on various non-profit organizations.
- Taught in the Cambridge Public School System.
- Set up community computer labs at 808 Memorial Drive, in affordable
housing complexes and provided IT training to individuals and
Helping kids develop into tomorrow's leaders, reading, playing basketball
and pool, and volunteering for Cambridge Youth Soccer.
- Keep Cambridge Family-Friendly.
- Ensure families can continue to live and thrive in Cambridge.
- Protect existing public and private housing stock.
- Promote youth employment and training opportunities.
- Develop local public transportation tailored to local needs.
- Foster economic growth that collaborates with neighborhood and
- Invest in our schools with a robust budget.
- Oversee after-school programs that deepen and enhance educational
opportunities for students, teachers, and families.
- Lead an effort to ensure higher levels of cooperation and
assistances from Cambridge colleges and universities.
Quality of Life and Public Safety:
Maintaining the quality of life in Cambridge during these economic
uncertainties will be one of the biggest challenges for the city council.
I am committed to keeping Cambridge economically viable for families,
businesses, students, educators, and all walks of life. At the same time,
I will work constructively with the city manager, my colleagues, and the
new superintendent to secure the resources to fund important programs at
some of the lowest tax rates throughout the state. Its fiscal management
is superior and its disciplined investment provides the type of services
that make Cambridge's quality of life enjoyable.
On public safety, I am a strong believer in neighborhood policing,
which includes neighbors knowing neighbors and foot patrol policing, and I
live by these words. I am actively and routinely walk the neighborhoods,
checking in on kids and families. I have walked the neighborhoods with our
public safety officials and have led on addressing issues of crime and
Traffic, Parking, and Transportation:
It would be great if we all depended more on walking, biking, and public
transportation. I would like to see a local bus system available
throughout Cambridge neighborhoods that would allow more independence for
all residents. It would be integrated with the MBTA, but would be based on
movement through Cambridge, and not just the MBTA patterns for the greater
Boston area. As such, it would be focused on the needs of our citizens.
Alexandria, VA, has established a city system that works in conjunction
with the Washington, DC Mass Transit system, and we should see if it is
possible here. Students would be less car dependent for getting to and
from school activities, and seniors could remain more independent. In
addition, a local bus system would go a long way in terms of reducing
parking concerns and short distance driving.
Municipal Finance, City Budget, Assessments, and Property Taxes:
While Cambridge has one of the lowest residential tax rates in the
Commonwealth, it is a challenge to maintain quality services and
reasonable taxes. Given our ability to maintain a triple A bond rating and
healthy financial reserves, it can be done, but future needs surely will
stretch our financial resources. It is vital that we stay focused on those
needs that continue to make Cambridge a livable city: education,
transportation, safety, recreation, and access to all city services, while
being transparent and vigilant with every dollar spent.
Government and Elections:
History has taught me to support the Plan E Charter. It wasn't too long
ago that Cambridge reflected bad government in its worst forms.
Corruption, cronyism, and political patronage characterized the Cambridge
government UNTIL the city switched to a Plan E form of government. The
Plan E form of government removed the power of a strong mayoral system
which removed politics from the management of the city. As a result,
Cambridge has a triple A bond rating, superior to many of its neighboring
municipalities, earning it praise and envy from municipalities throughout
But, the Plan E form of government didn't do it alone. Cambridge has an
effective city manager in Bob Healy, who has done a tremendous job for
this city. Today, Cambridge is recognized nationally as a well-managed
city both from a financial and services perspective. Bob Healy is the
person most responsible for that.
It's unclear if Mr. Healy will seek another contract as city manager.
If he does not, the City Council needs to have a thought out action plan.
The most important function of the City Council is selecting the city
manager, and we must be clear on our priorities and requirements without
writing a 100-page job description. The city should hire a search firm
with a proven record to assist us with the task of selecting a new city
manager. The search firm should select candidates that are competent in
all aspects of government and public works. In addition, the search firm
should seek candidates with experience demonstrating their fairness in
administering and protecting the policies of the city. The candidates
should possess management experience in a city of comparable size to
Cambridge and must demonstrate capability and commitment to managing a
diverse and dynamic community. Candidates ought to have experience
directing substantial budget responsibilities, and the proven ability to
assemble and manage the most talented team.
Land Use, Planning, and Economic Development:
Cambridge must balance growth with existing resources. We have to be
mindful of maintaining our history while function in the 21st century. We
are a community first and planning must be done with the people who live
within neighborhoods in mind.
The guiding principle for all residential development is and should be
to adhere to current zoning codes. A great deal of planning by many
individuals as well as city departments has gone into current zoning
layout. Even with that, our process allows for residents to petition to
change zoning at any time. It would be both difficult and short sided to
pre-determine zoning before balancing the needs of the city and the will
of the residents as related to a specific request. Residential development
in all Cambridge should reflect input from the community and neighborhood
groups and should follow community standards and zoning of those
particular areas. Development needs to be balanced, and determined on a
case by case basis.
Human Services Programs:
Before I joined the City Council, I founded and published Human Services
Connection (HSC) magazine, which focused on the human service community.
In addition, I organized a human services forum hosted by Michael Dukakis
during the 2006 Democratic National Convention. It is suffice to say that
I am committed to human service programs.
I am proud that Cambridge is a leader in providing human services
programs ranging from childcare and after school programs to a
user-friendly senior center. We have to constantly evaluate and monitor
programs for their effectiveness. As our city changes, so too will the
human service program needs. I have spent my adult life focusing on
providing quality human services, and understand fundamentally the costs
and benefits of providing high quality service.
Open Space, Parks, and Recreation:
We are fortunate to live in a city with many quality parks and
recreational opportunities. We have to utilize our ingenuity to make sure
project designs are very mindful of open space issues. It is difficult for
all of us to balance wanting open space with wanting more affordable
housing given the physical density of our city, but a city without green
space and open parks isn't supporting its citizens.
Energy, the Environment, and Public Health:
The Cambridge Health Alliance was created to provide healthcare within
neighborhoods, which is a great concept. Lack of city involvement has led
to limiting services in certain areas that reduce the quality of life for
the very people it was set up to service. It is time we think about
increasing our involvement to ensure quality health services for all.
Regarding the discussion on "affordable housing" I continue to
ask the question: Affordable to whom? Cambridge has one of the largest
stocks of "affordable housing" in the Commonwealth. And yet, we
don't have enough housing opportunities because those who want to live in
Cambridge can't afford it. The inclusionary zone ordinance is an effective
way to increase the number of affordable housing units. Essentially,
developers must reserve a certain percentage of their units for those with
lower and moderate incomes. However, we may need to increase the
percentages to increase the number of affordable units. We also may need
to devise incentive programs that allow homeowners to sell their
properties to diverse populations who want to stay in Cambridge without
losing out on market pricing. As a city with a triple A bond rating, we
are in a financial position that better allows us to think outside of the
box in order to be more inclusive.
Arts and Public Celebrations:
Cambridge is noted for its diverse and colorful celebrations. As a city,
we should continue to seek out opportunities to bring people together and
The universities need the city and they also are good for the city. Our
goal should be to increase the connections between both parties in ways
that are mutually beneficial. One major concern is to increase the
transparency of the relationship between the city and the universities.
It is a wonderful feeling to help others just for the pure joy that
helping others brings. As a community, we are responsible for each other.
If we want citizens to participate, we need to build in volunteer
opportunities beginning when kids enter school and it should never stop.
Cambridge Public Schools:
Our youth are the heart and soul of the city. As the debate rages on
regarding "closing the achievement gap", the most critical piece
to closing the gap is prenatal care and early childhood education. Those
issues must be seriously addressed so that students are "ready"
to learn. We must remain focused on the quality of education we provide.
Focusing too much on standardized testing hinders students' ability to
learn in the many diverse ways they are capable of and limits the
creativity of both students and teachers. I was a statewide coordinator of
the Massachusetts Coalition for Authentic Reform in Education and helped
organize thousands of parents, teachers, and students throughout the
Commonwealth in an ongoing effort to reform MCAS testing and alleviate its
most damaging effects. I will continue my efforts to deepen and enhance
educational opportunities for students, teachers, and families.
Why Larry Ward?
I am a long-time Cambridge resident (20+ years) with a history of
leadership in the public school system, in the small business community,
in nurturing and developing youth, and in fighting for equity in all
spheres of city life.
As a Professional Counselor committed to social services, I
bring a firsthand understanding of the services needed to make our city
work, and I bring the listening skills necessary to respond to concerns of
As a substitute teacher at CRLS, a parent of CRLS graduates, and an
advocate for school reform, I know the concerns parents face and the
challenges of Cambridge Public Schools.
As a computer specialist, I understand and embrace how
technology can improve city management and the community's quality of life
As a volunteer with Cambridge Youth Soccer, Youth Basketball and
Peace Commission, I know what volunteerism can achieve.
As an entrepreneur, I have realistic assessments of the
difficulties in starting and growing a business in Cambridge.
As a parent in an interracial family, with an elderly live-in
father, I have a unique perspective on race and class issues.
As a city councilor for running for re-election and I am asking for
your number one vote on November 3rd. Please visit (www.larryward.org)
to learn more about me.
In February 2009, I joined the City Council after Brian Murphy resigned.
In my brief term on the Council I have led and achieved positive results.
- Chaired meetings on the University Relations Committee in response
to University hiring & firing practices.
- Is formulating long-term strategy for Town and Gown relationships.
- Organized meetings between Porter Square neighbors and Lesley
University officials on the rezoning for the Arts Institute of Boston.
- Injected civility into Council debates, including the Monteiro
lawsuit against the city.
- Provided outreach into North Cambridge community regarding recent
crime and violence.
- Successfully mediated neighborhood concerns regarding curb cuts and
parking, and introduced a council order to increase and secure
residential parking in East Cambridge.
- Actively participated in community events such as 14 out of 15
school graduations, Hoops for Health, Cambridge Senior Picnic, and Old
- Introduced resolutions highlighting the activities and achievements
of our youth.
- Collaborated with State Senator Galluccio to extend the DCR pool
- Actively and constructively engaged public safety officials on the
Candidate's 2007 responses