It’s about action, not words. I continuously prove my commitment to the work, as my efforts and board orders demonstrate. My goal as a local advocate and activist is to ensure a better Somerville for all residents. Here are some of the core issues I’m focusing on.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING & HOUSING INSTABILITY
Any family that wants to stay and work in Somerville should be able to do so. Lack of affordable housing is a problem that affects everyone: our neighbors, our colleagues, our friends. It’s around every corner, and it’s making our community weaker when we need to come together and be stronger. I’m committed to tackling Somerville’s housing crisis by continuing my housing policy work and through board orders.
- As chair of the Housing and Community Development Committee (HCD), I ensure that the committee meets consistently–month by month, sometimes twice a month–to get the work done. I have advanced the work of past HCD chairs, which includes shining light (and effort) on the Tenant Notification Act.
- I ensured that various city departments have educated their staff about the proper procedures to handle wrongful eviction claims and landlord violations.
- I pushed for fair housing policies on both the city and state levels.
- I introduced the Eviction Moratorium board order, and have kept it on the agenda for continued dialogue and updates.
- I advocated for an increased allocation to municipal funds for the Office of Housing Stability to secure more staff and resources. As a result, the administration committed to hire two new full-time staff members).
- I fought for the Tenant’s Right to Purchase.
- I testified at the Massachusetts Statehouse numerous times in support of the modest 1% Transfer Tax, which pours more money into Somerville’s affordable housing projects.
- I assembled the stakeholders of the Somerville Community Land Trust (SCLT) in committee to discuss how our city could best support the Land Trust’s progression and mission.
- I connected with other communities in the Commonwealth for collaborative solutions to our larger statewide and nationwide housing crises.
We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We can incorporate successful systems from other regions and work them into our plan for Somerville.
EQUITY & SOCIAL JUSTICE
My goal as a local advocate and activist is to focus on ensuring the betterment for all Somerville residents. I have a proven track record of taking action towards racial justice, social justice and equity, and will continue to do so. So far, I have:
- Put forward an order for Somerville to initiate more city contracts with minority and women-owned businesses.
- Put forward an order that the City Council undergo diversity, gender, racial, and cultural sensitivity training once per term.
- Put forward an order for the City Council to discuss recent Somerville studies that examine inequity (the Harvard collaborative Trotter Report) and how the city can learn from past wrongs of social and racial injustice.
- Reimagined what our 911 call center looks like, and explored how it could respond to non-emergency, non-life threatening calls more effectively.
- Put forward an order to re-examine parking ticket fine structures with the Traffic and Parking department, proposing an income-based scale rather than a fixed fine.
As your City Councilor-at-Large, I am committed to working with local business owners, activist groups, seniors, parents, artists, and the rest of our diverse community to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.
Air quality and noise pollution directly affect our quality of life here in Somerville. We need to continue taking steps forward to address the nuanced and multifaceted nature of climate change. Here are some steps I’ve taken so far:
- I signed on to resolutions calling for divestment from fossil fuels in the municipal pension plan.
- I pushed our local utility company to stop gas leaks in Somerville more proactively, as gas leaks contribute to greenhouse gas and kill our trees.
- I collaborate(d) on ideas to preserve, maintain, and make best use of Somerville’s green spaces, which provide health benefits to our community and children.
- I will continue to advocate for the 1-93 sound barriers, which would improve the noise level in Somerville’s two most densely populated wards: wards one and four.
I am committed to fighting for a greener Somerville. I have good working relationships with environmental groups, which I will continue to strengthen.
SAFE STREET MOBILITY
I work toward safer roads for all, and am 100% in support of Vision Zero: zero injuries and zero fatalities for cyclists and pedestrians. Our community has experienced the grief of several pedestrian deaths in the past few years. Seeking immediate solutions, I signed on to additional traffic measures that regulate neighborhood speed, such as bump outs and speed bumps. I continue to push for more bike lanes, protected bike lanes, a connected path for cyclists and pedestrians, and reduced speed zones. I have also:
- Put forward orders for more thoughtful street planning and traffic calming measures in neighborhoods.
- Supported collaborative, community-based approaches on how to keep Somerville safe, such as Shared Streets and continued communication with our pedestrian, bike and mobility commissions.
- Introduced a resolution condemning the recent MBTA transit cuts, which went to the Governor and the director of the MBTA.
- Put forward orders requesting that the city investigate speed monitoring devices installed in our municipal vehicle fleets.
- Submitted numerous orders for more traffic patrol for bus lanes, to deter cars and protect cyclists.
- Requested more communication between Tufts University and the Mobility Division, so that when new Tufts students arrive to live in our city, they are briefed on Somerville’s rules for bike lanes, bus lanes and vehicles.
SUPPORTING WORKERS & SMALL BUSINESSES
I have an extra eye on our small businesses to protect them against massive rent increases and the havoc of the COVID shutdown.
- I was proactive in monitoring the effect of the COVID shutdown on our local businesses. I am in constant dialogue with the city about how we can best support our businesses in this time of great strife and financial burden.
- I collaborated for varied business support, from loans and grants to re-examining rent options for struggling businesses. This has truly been a community effort.
- I have continuously worked with neighborhood groups, the city’s Economic Development department and Somerville Main Streets for responsive action to combat COVID revenue loss.
- I proudly served on the City Council’s subcommittee of the newly ordained Wage Theft Commission, working to establish and staff the committee so that it could begin its important work of preventing wage theft (when employers deny workers wages and benefits.)
- I supported an ordinance that prevents any Somerville business from discouraging (or retaliating against) employees that attempt to unionize.
- I submitted orders to initiate collaborations between city departments, like neighborhood business groups and the Arts Council, to re-envision the 2020 Illuminations Tour, which connected local businesses, residents and customers.
SUPPORTING OUR ARTISTS
Somerville boasts the largest working artist population in the country outside of Brooklyn. By supporting our artists, we help Somerville thrive.
- I push for more Somerville artist representation in new construction projects, including art installations in Union Square and Assembly.
- I am exploring the possibility of incentivizing companies to choose Somerville-based artists and local small businesses first when selecting services for their property.
- I support other initiatives that invest in our creative class of residents, such as the expansion of artist COVID grants and local art commissions including the Arts Council and the Somerville Media Center.
- I advocate in support of establishing spaces for artists and creative entrepreneurs to operate their businesses or simply just create.
For more info, please visit my orders & resolutions page.