Leland Cheung

Leland Cheung
2015 Candidate for Cambridge City Council

Home address:
157 Garden St.
Cambridge, MA 02138

Contact information:
Tel: 617-444-9080 (cell)
website: www.LelandCheung.com
e-mail: Leland@LelandCheung.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/electleland
Twitter: @lelandcheung

Send contributions to:
Committee To Elect Leland Cheung
157 Garden St.
Cambridge, MA 02138

Leland’s Background
When my parents immigrated to Cambridge they came for an education and for opportunity. What they found here was so special and unique that they became determined to instill in my sister and I an appreciation for the same. With occasional trips to visit relatives in China to compare our lives to theirs, my parents showed us the importance of a community that governs for the future, catches people when they fall, and helps people create a better life for their children. I quickly realized the dual nature of democracy - giving us on the one hand freedom, but on the other the responsibility to participate in shaping our government.

It was with the sense of responsibility that I ran for City Council after leaving the innovation economy in Kendall Square. For the past three terms I have worked tirelessly to realize these ideals for our community, earning a reputation as the most productive, progressive, and responsive City Councillor. Year after year I’ve passed the most legislation, delivered a fresh perspective to deliberation, and proactively responded to every person who contacts my office.

Now, with a two year old daughter of my own, it is clearer to me now more than ever that we all face the same questions my parents faced. How can we pass on our values through education, experience, and example? Our choices not only define us, and our community, but the world as it will be for our children. Every decision I make is from the perspective of the Cambridge I want us to build not just for two years from now, but for twenty.

I’ve seen that government can be a force for good and that, by working together, we can solve problems today and lay plans for a better future. By voting Leland Cheung #1, you are sending a message that you want a responsive, innovative, and collaborative City Council. Your overwhelming support in the last election helped me set a positive, productive tone this past term. So I’m asking you to please vote Leland Cheung #1 again this year so we can keep Moving Cambridge Forward.
Leland Cheung

On the Issues: Promises Made; Promises Kept

Increase the Availability of Affordable Housing
Introduced the legislation and initiated the process to update the econometric nexus study that underpins Cambridge’s legal ability to require developers to build affordable housing.

Working with slate colleagues, increased developer's commitment to building affordable units across the city by more than 3x going forward.

Served as a leading voice for a multi-pronged approach, increasing the building requirements for the affordability share, increasing developer fees, allocating additional city funding, forcing MIT to house more of their students, approving the construction of new affordable units, and preserving existing units residents are already living in.

NEXT STEP: Prices are up not only in Cambridge, but across the region. Leland will continue leading Cambridge in collaborating with its neighbors to do more.

Stable Governance for a Stable Government
Cambridge continues to have one of the lowest tax rates of any city in the Commonwealth, while delivering services, benefits, and infrastructure to its residents that other municipalities can’t dream of. The key to our success is maintaining a stable government that delivers on the basics, while fighting for reform and constant improvement.

Served as a leading voice for responsible leadership on the City Council and for keeping the long-term big-picture in mind.

Introduced new transparency rules, and led the Council in hiring our current City Manager; then ensured that the transition was seamless for residents who rely on city services.

Worked with the City Administration to maintain the triple AAA bond rating which keeps taxes low, safeguard our tap water, establish a top-ranked fire department to match our police department, ensure that sewer separation and road reconstruction stay on deadline, adequately fund libraries and senior centers, improve resolution times for any reported issues, provide the community with events like the annual dance party, and introduce programs for healthy kids.

Pressured the city administration to make massive reforms: completely overhauling our approach to technology and allowing residents easy access to the city online, moving your tax dollars to a local community bank from an overseas bank, and rethinking our approach to traffic management.

NEXT STEP: The City Manager’s contract expires in 2016, and Leland has already begun laying the groundwork to ensure we have a transparent, open, thoughtful process to address that.

Neighborhood Oriented Development & Traffic
What makes Cambridge special is its people, living in a balanced combination of neighborhood pockets and urban density, which promotes that community feel throughout the city.

Served as a leading voice for community oriented development. Forced developers to the negotiating table, mediated meetings with neighbors, and secured consensus outcomes later called a model for how the process should happen.

Fought against the state’s unconscionable ignoring of the neighborhood with the courthouse redevelopment, supported projects that gave back to the community, and fought to improve traffic flows.

Worked with experts to develop new guidelines and standards for neighborhood participation, active retail frontage along pedestrian corridors, parking regulations to free up street spaces, reroute trucks, extend our bicycle network, and ensure that new development puts the community first.

NEXT STEP: Cambridge is embarking on a multi-year master planning process; Leland will leverage his experience on the Council to make sure the new master plan integrates all our lessons learned.

Introduce Participatory Budgeting
After seeing how residents in Lisbon came together around Participatory Budgeting - the process of allowing residents to propose, define, and vote directly on projects to spend tax dollars on - Leland knew it would work in Cambridge.

Partnering with our finance department, Leland developed a Participatory Budgeting plan for Cambridge and oversaw the implementation of a pilot program in which the residents decided how to spend more than half a million dollars from the FY16 budget.

Funding will be going towards new trees and tree wells in low-canopy neighborhoods, laptops for the community learning center, bilingual books for children learning English, a public toilet in Central Square, bike repair stations, and new outdoor public wi-fi hotspots that will extend the network Leland launched several years ago.

The process for FY17 has already begun, with voting scheduled for early December.

NEXT STEP: Leland is working with the city administration to increase Participatory share of the budget, and repurpose the tools and processes to make Public Participation an integral part of zoning new development, policy making, and strengthening neighborhoods.

Good Jobs and Access to the New Economy
Leland has been endorsed almost every union in Cambridge and many across Massachusetts in recognition of his work fighting for fair wages, safe working conditions, the right to organize, and employment that recognizes the value of our people.

Making sure that the City of Cambridge leads by example, introduced policy to extend paid sick leave to part-time employees and grant gender-neutral parental leave to all employees.

To extend access to the new economy to all residents in Cambridge, forged a partnership between the city and the housing authority to bring free internet to our students in public housing, collaborated with colleagues to create Cambridge’s STEAM initiative, and brought programming from Harvard and MIT to cable public access.

Fathered the Foundry Building as it is now conceptualized - a thriving, innovative center that offers a collaborative environment with a mix of cultural, arts, educational, manufacturing, and commercial uses - by holding the first public hearings and leading the fight against the proposal to simply selling the property to the highest bidder.

NEXT STEP: As someone with a background in science and engineering, Leland knows it’s won’t be enough simply to have a STEAM coordinator or center; we need a STEAM culture. To fund that, Leland is lobbying the legislature to approve a policy for Cambridge to create an inclusionary job program, similar to Boston’s but with strong STEAM and new economy components.

Environmental Stewardship for our Children’s World
The only color that matters is green - not profits, but whether marching towards a green world in which future generations can thrive. As Chair of the Health and Environment Committee, Leland achieved massive policy landmarks that ensure we are responsible stewards for our children’s Cambridge.

Cemented Cambridge’s environmental leadership by adopting a Net Zero plan and more stringent building requirements at LEAD +6. Introduced an ordinance to expand and finally legalize ZipCar in Cambridge to reduce the number of cars on the road.

Promoted sustainable solutions by introducing curbside composting, single stream recycling. Authored (now adopted) policy for plastic bag and polystyrene bans. Supported Harvard students and alumni in calling for divestment from fossil fuels. Worked with HEET to make gas leak detection part of our standard processes. Brought energy efficient LED lights and Hubway bike sharing to Cambridge.

NEXT STEP: Leland is working with the administration to institute municipal power aggregation, which would allow the City to negotiate with utilities on behalf of all residents and business for cleaner energy at a more affordable price.

Supporting Entrepreneurs & Local Businesses
It’s proven that locally owned businesses provide more benefit to a community’s economy than large corporations where profits are siphoned to elsewhere.

Paved the way for local economic growth by creating Local Economy Week, an annual celebration of locally-owned and independently operated businesses in the City. Set limitations on big banks gobbling retail frontage for advertising.

Reformed our fiscal policies and brought taxpayer dollars back to a local community bank from a big overseas bank; reformed our procurement policies and increased the percentage we spend locally. Protected local businesses as a vocal advocate against overly burdensome City licensing and permitting fee increases.

Preserved the entrepreneurial spirit of Kendall Square by pioneering historic zoning changes to require space for start-ups and growing companies in all new large-scale development. Promoted the development of a Cambridge Entrepreneurship Assistance Program. Worked to bring-in and expand coworking.

NEXT STEP: Cambridge benefits from a thriving local economy and entrepreneurial ecosystem; however, we can’t take for granted that it will continue to succeed in the face increased competition. Leland is working to expand our proven pilots and programs citywide.

First and Foremost - Family Friendly
Introduced creative ideas to increase everyone’s enjoyment of our community. Championed the addition of off-leash dog parks and hours, coupled with policies for reducing dog waste. Brought BBQs to Danehy Park. Advocated for LGBTQ equality and gender & identity neutral policies in Cambridge.

Worked collaboratively with business organizations in our squares to bring fun celebrations of food and festivity to Cambridge residents. Partnered with the Food Truck Alliance on thoughtfully placing trucks and brought the Food Truck Festival to Cambridge.

During the discussions around outdoor smoking, led the discussion on prohibiting smoking by playgrounds. Supported new day care facilities and service seeking to open in Cambridge. Introduced concussion regulations to protect the minds of young players. Banned carcinogenic food trays from being used at school.

Promoted safer streets and Black Lives Matter by commissioning an external review of Cambridge’s Community Policing efforts. Founded the BridgeStat program to use data analysis to stop crime, keep residents safe, and distribute information to members of our community. Fostered closer partnerships between City & University police forces for increased campus safety.

NEXT STEP: Leland will continue progressing towards a Cambridge where every person, child, and family, regardless of gender, race, or religion, feels welcome, safe, and happy.

Looking forward, great things in the works …

A City as Smart as We are
Leland has already led an overhaul of our technology practices and policies: putting services on the city website, introducing mobile apps like iReport to report problems, allowing residents to pay online via credit cards, using city infrastructure to create public wifi, forming an e-governance committee to prioritize new projects, and managing the adoption of an open data policy.

The next step is utilizing smart sensors and the internet of things to improve how our city works. Leland is laying the groundwork for a future that includes smart parking, one 311 system to replace the city directory, sensors to prevent gas leaks and water main ruptures, improved transparency and access, and more. Leland is also working to bring publicly owned broadband internet to Cambridge by leveraging the work he’s already done with the state on municipal fiber.

Collaborating and Building Bridges
Leland organized the first-in-history joint Council meetings between the Boston and Cambridge City Councils, which have fostered collaboration on economic development, police and fire services, and housing strategies. Serving on the board of the National League of Cities, Leland continues to share Cambridge’s best practices across the country and bring innovative ideas back to the Council here. As one of the principal drafters of the Massachusetts Democratic Party Platform, Leland made sure our progressive policies are reflected in statewide priorities.

Tackling Cambridge’s challenges will require regional solutions. Leland will continue strengthen Cambridge’s relationships with its neighbors and fostering partnerships to address issues around housing, traffic, and shortfalls in federal services.

Addressing the Affordable Housing Crisis Head-on
Cambridge is among the most desirable cities in the world to live and work in. It wasn’t always that way, and in some respects we’re the victim of our own success. Cambridge continues to do more than any other city or town in the state to provide affordable housing; The City has been praised by the U.S. Secretary for Housing. The Council has made huge policy steps this term and remains committed to making more.

However, some candidates this election want you to forget about all good work done to get us here. They’re quick to point out the problem, but lack solutions. Their proposals sound good, but experts, research, and experience all say they wouldn’t work.

Leland will continue to fearlessly make the tough calls and support ideas that are based on research, experience, and realistic thinking. We don’t need empty promises, we need empty units for families to move into.

Improving Education, One Student at a Time
Leland has refused to act as a rubber stamp the School Committee’s budget, pushing for clearer answers and realistic plans. With our vast resources, Cambridge must close the achievement gap and see every student graduating from our schools prepared for work, college, or whatever their definition of success is.

Leland will continue to fight for universal pre-k, the expanded support services teachers are asking for, after school programming, and a school budget that isn’t based on the past, but where we see the future. Leland is working with school committee members to ensure we have a long-term plan to tackle persistent deficiencies, address parents’ concerns, and continually raise the bar.

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Page last updated Wednesday, October 7, 2015 7:52 PM Cambridge Candidates