I have ended my campaign for Cambridge City Council.
Recently, horrible things I said and posted online from my younger days have come into the spotlight and there is simply no political way forward for me as a candidate. [On Sunday], I was leaving a slate of great candidates who didn't want me to leave, in order to join a slate of candidates who wanted me to join. By late Monday morning, I was political anathema. I am not a racist, nor homophobic, and am in fact firmly progressive and take these issues very personally and aim for a city government that takes them very politically. However, the revelations of these confused, misguided, nonsensical writings from my past---which I wholeheartedly own up to, and condemn---have made me untouchable.
I believe I had a great deal to offer this city in a great many ways, and would have been a passionate voice at the table for sustainability, livability, and equity, largely through the lens of transportation and socioeconomic justice. I would have worked tirelessly to craft meaningful, thoughtful policy for the city I have come to love deeply and intimately.
I am withdrawing completely from Cambridge public life, with a great deal of regret, because I truly feel I could have been a respectable public servant long into the future and helped create a truly special Cambridge. This is painful. There is much in my life that I wish I could undo, but alas even the pointless, terrible, and obscure can come back and wrench your very purpose of being. Over the last few years, I made Cambridge my everything, and whatever I was in my younger days has nothing to do with who I am today. I'm sorry I was not a better person. [Oct 27, 2015]
John believes that Cambridge has a unique duty to be a leading model for progressive urbanism.
1. FIX OUR STREETS AND TRANSPORTATION NETWORK
- Implement the Cambridge Bicycle Network Plan.
- Expand the "complete streets" model. Create more vibrant, interesting, and safe streets like Vassar Street and Western Avenue.
- Create more people-first streets and plazas, like Winthrop Street in Harvard Square, and Longfellow Road. Encourage creative and progressive design by engaging our local talent.
- Focus on our local transit infrastructure. Improve Cambridge's T station amenities, enhance local bus stops, and pilot dedicated rapid bus lanes.
- Prioritize parking maximums over parking minimums for new development.
- Build intersections and street crossings to the highest multi-modal standards. For instance, transit priority signalization, raised intersections, and bicycle intersection phasing.
- Safe routes to schools everywhere in the city.
- Commit Cambridge to Vision Zero.
- Complete the Grand Junction Path and the Cambridge-Watertown Greenway. Find more opportunities for multi-use paths and linear parks.
- Re-envision our major streets as multi-modal transportation corridors, cultural destinations, and thriving, people-first business districts.
2. HOLISTIC AND INCLUSIVE PLANNING
- As the citywide planning process continues, bring in talent and voices from across the community in a meaningful way.
- Overhaul Central Square, with recommendations from C2 and ongoing community conversations.
- Implement Connect Kendall Square and transform the neighborhood into a hub of sustainable transportation.
- Do substantially better with Fresh Pond-area planning. Great urban design and an excellent mobility network must come along with new development.
- Broaden our city-wide conversation about density.
- Streets are public places. They should be designed as such.
- We must collaborate with our city neighbors like Boston and Somerville when it comes to transportation, development, and social services planning.
- Create more effective public spaces by selectively abandoning parcel-by-parcel open space requirements, and instead pooling into grander-scale open spaces.
- Take a hard look at refining inclusionary zoning and improving affordable housing standards.
3. IMPROVE LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS
- Reconnect Cambridge with the Charles River and build community around it.
- Continue to foster historic preservation and neighborhood conservation, and further develop programs where preservation and restoration overlap with affordable housing and streetscape improvement.
- Celebrate investment and work constructively with developers to maximize community benefits. Clearly define these benefits as part of an expanded planning process.
- Partner with MIT and Harvard on planning, development, and transportation issues, with a special focus on gateways and intra-campus mobility. Engage the creative and brilliant talent pool within our borders to design a better city.
- Work with the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority more often to get things done.
- Create highly active and model programs with local youth and university students to enhance and care for our public spaces. Restore values of stewardship, and encourage creative design and programming.
- Bring non-traditional and non-politically active members of the community into important conversations – for instance, those who can't attend meetings, non-native English speakers, Harvard, MIT, and Lesley students, and more youth.
CCTV candidate video (2015)