I am running for a second term on the city council because I want to fight to keep Somerville a Community for All.
That has been my mission since I first took office and we have made great progress. But there is still so much work to be done.
VALUES: Preserving Community, Standing with Workers, Promoting Equity, and Environmental Justice
We need to preserve and empower our great community here in Somerville.
We have taken important steps to do that in my first term and we should celebrate that:
- We passed a condo conversion ordinance to crack down on the forces of speculation that continue to displace the most cherished and vulnerable members of our community;
- We passed a transfer fee that will also target out-of-town real estate developers and investors in order to fund affordable housing that we desperately need. While this home rule has yet to pass at the state level, pressure is building as other cities take up the call and follow Somerville’s lead;
- We passed important regulations against AirBnB rentals in our city. Without these protections, speculation would run wild and the number of regular rentals available in the city would decline- properties would be bought by investors with the sole purpose of being used as a permanent AirBnB hotel in our community;
- We recognized and supported the creation of the Union Square Neighborhood Council- a democratically elected council that can truly have a say in how the community should benefit from development;
- We also helped support and fund the newly created Office of Housing Stability led by the talented housing advocate Ellen Schachter. These are important measures to tackle the issue of affordability in our community and slow the forces of displacement;
- Moving forward, we need to use the Union Square Neighborhood Council as a model in the future development projects that are surely to pop up along the stops of the proposed green line extension. We need to give community groups a seat at the table from the very beginning of the process- great opportunity awaits here as development comes along the green line corridor and at projects like 299 Broadway (the old Star Market);
We need to stand with workers at a time when they need our support more than ever. Wages are flat, unions are under attack at the national level and more and more residents in this city are struggling to afford to stay.
- We need to strengthen our wage theft ordinance to ensure it can be used effectively to punish businesses that treat their workers unfairly;
- We need to support the picket lines when our fellow workers go out on strike;
- We need to promote high wage, and good paying jobs right here in Somerville and we need to reward our local businesses that are doing that the right way;
We need to look at the issue of equity in this city. I am all too aware of my lived status as the only person of color and only immigrant on the City Council. In this role, I try to bring a voice to the issue of equity. I am going to fight to make sure that this issue does not get put on the back burner.
- Very soon I will be launching a petition to follow up on my board order to keep the pressure on the city to implement Restorative Justice in its policing;
- I will continue to press the city to complete studies I have requested tracking minority owned business in the city and will push for the creation of programs that help those businesses and those owned by immigrants against the forces of gentrification and displacement;
- We need to look at the city hiring practices and appointment process for people of color so that we get a voice and seat at the table that we deserve;
- We need to see our immigrant brothers and sisters represented in all branches of our municipal government. Unless we have a government that is reflective of the community it serves, equity will just be lip service;
Finally, I care deeply about our environmental justice and preservation, and in my next term I will build off the success of the plastic straw ban to ensure we are doing what we can as a city to fight climate change, preserve and expand our tree canopy and promote green and open spaces.
Help me fight these fights next term. I will need your help on the doors, on the phone and at the voting booth. Let’s fight to keep Somerville a community for all!