Sean Tierney

Sean Tierney
2017 Candidate for Cambridge City Council

Home address:
12 Prince St.
Cambridge, MA 02139

Contact information:

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General Statement:
My name is Sean Tierney and I am running for Cambridge City Council. Below, you will find some background on who I am and why I am running. I hope you will consider me for your #1 vote on November 7th.

I believe that an effective City Council must bring together people with the knowledge and skills to tackle the issues facing our City. I stand out from other current candidates for the Council because of my experience as a lawyer working on tax and housing policy for the State of Massachusetts. I believe that Cambridge will benefit from policies that create housing and job opportunities for a diverse array of people. I will make a unique and valuable contribution to the Council because of my understanding of how housing and tax policy can be used to further these civic goals.

My connection to Cambridge runs deep. I grew up on Appleton St., near the corner of Huron Ave, in the house where my dad, Teddy, grew up and where he lives today with my mother, Mary. My dad was a salesman and my mother ran a family day care out of our house for twenty-five years, after which she worked as a school nurse at the Morse Elementary School and Fletcher-Maynard Academy.

As a kid, I went to the Peabody School and then the Cambridge Rindge & Latin High School. From both teachers and peers I learned about other cultures and identities. I was exposed to the realities of economic diversity. I learned that in Cambridge, we don’t shy away from conversations about gaps in opportunity and the roots of inequality and privilege. Instead, I was taught to examine my life in the context of our community. I learned respect, empathy and, compassion. I learned not to judge, but always to listen. These are the values I want to bring to the City Council.

After college, my first job was at Harvard University's Institute of Politics where I ran the JFK Jr. Forum, Harvard's well-known public affairs venue. I hosted national and international leaders and learned about the importance of strong and effective leadership. Inspired by President Kennedy's famous words that an "educated citizen has an obligation to serve the public," I decided to attend law school with the goal of serving my community.

While in law school I committed myself to public service opportunities. I taught Constitutional Law and coached a moot court team at City on a Hill High School in Roxbury, researched election law issues for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, and served as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy for the Attorney General. My first job after law school was as Deputy Legal Counsel for the State's Revenue Committee where I helped draft the Fair Share Amendment to the State Constitution to fund universal pre-K and transportation improvements.

Currently, I am working full-time in state government as the Research Director & Legal Counsel for the Massachusetts Committee on Housing. Every day I work to create smart growth, affordable, and middle-income housing opportunities. I also help create policies to improve public housing and prevent homelessness and I work with nonprofits to protect tenants from eviction.

I have a passion for our city and its people. I've volunteered for Food For Free, participated in the Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program, worked for the city's Recreation Department, and taught swim lessons at the Gold Star Pool and the War Memorial pool at the high school. I continue to volunteer to help coach the high school football team.

As a lifelong resident of Cambridge I have watched the city change. While growth and development has brought many improvements, it has led to a crisis in the housing market, which threatens the diversity and opportunity that have been such an important part of Cambridge's history. Rather than simply bemoaning the housing crisis, I believe that I have the professional knowledge and skills to effect change. As a public service lawyer I've worked on state tax and housing policy. I have the legal training and professional experience to make an impact not only through fresh ideas, but with a broader perspective of how the city interacts with the state and how to leverage state resources to help us move forward in improving housing, transportation and education. My website lays out a number of specific ideas for how the city could use state programs to help us foster "smart growth" in underdeveloped areas of Cambridge, creating sustainable, mixed-use communities tied to public transportation, and to help us increase our stock of low-income and affordable housing.

I am running for City Council because I want Cambridge to be an inviting place for young professionals, but also a place for families, diversity, and opportunity. I want Cambridge to be a leader in confronting the complex problems facing cities. I have the policy experience and the cross-cultural community connections to build consensus and make problem solving inclusive, reasonable, and respectful.

I would welcome hearing your thoughts and concerns. Please reach out to me with questions about my platform. You can reach me at I hope I can earn your #1 vote on November 7th.

Housing Plan
There is no denying it. We are in a housing crisis. Cambridge was once a city of opportunity where families could set down roots, save money, and maybe one day buy a home. It was a city of cultural and economic diversity. In recent years increased housing demand and a regional lack of supply have caused rents and home prices to soar. Yet for many, wages have remained flat, making it difficult to live in Cambridge with any sense of financial security. Cambridge is at a crossroads.

I am running for city council for many reasons-- my love for Cambridge, my connection to its diverse population of residents, the pride I feel in being a product of our community. I stand out from this year's field of candidates, however, because of my significant and relevant experience in housing and tax policy. I have a professional background that no other person in this race can claim and I feel it is my responsibility to stand up for our community and lead.

As the former Deputy Legal Counsel for the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Revenue, I worked on policies to advance tax fairness and make investments in infrastructure and education. As the current Research Director & Legal Counsel for the Joint Committee on Housing, I work every day to produce housing policies that promote affordable and middle-income housing, as well as "smart growth" – the creation of sustainable, mixed-use communities to live, work and play. I also work with nonprofits to protect tenants from eviction and preserve affordable housing. Every week our office also hears from people across the state experiencing homelessness, and we do our best to connect them to services.

There is significant data supporting that Massachusetts is in a housing crisis. To meet demand, Greater Boston must produce nearly a half million units by 2040. Cambridge has contributed to this effort, but I believe we can do more. We've followed the lead of Somerville and Boston by increasing our affordable housing inclusionary requirement, increasing linkage requirements (fees paid by commercial developers to the City for affordable housing), dedicating Community Preservation Act funds to affordable housing, and rehabbing the entire public housing portfolio. But if we want to realize the fruits of inclusionary zoning and be a leader on affordable housing, we must not oppose the density and height that is required to make it work.

Below, I have submitted some ideas for you to consider. Some ideas are big and require regional buy-in, others are small and would provide only modest relief. But as a young person who rents, pays student loans and works in public service, any relief, however modest, can go a long way. The same goes for our single-parents and young families who are also barely able to afford to stay in Cambridge. Confronting our housing challenges requires transformative policy shifts as well as incremental change.

I do not claim to have all the answers. None of us can. But I do claim a responsibility to Cambridge. The pessimists will say we can't fix the housing crisis. But I cannot stand by and watch our community fade. Here are some practical ideas that we can promote, advocate for, and implement. Please read my plan and contact me with feedback.

Let's use Chapter 40R, the State's Smart Growth Zoning and Housing Production Statute, to develop sustainable, multi-use neighborhoods at Alewife and Vail Court
Over the years the city has studied, rezoned, and set goals for Alewife and the 130 acre quadrangle along Concord Ave. The 2005 Concord-Alewife study identified a vision for the site as a transit-oriented, walkable neighborhood for people to live, work, play, and shop.

We could do the same on a smaller scale at Vail Court. Vail Court is the dilapidated 0.65-acre property just outside of Central Sq. on Bishop Allen Drive. The city recently took the site by eminent domain and The Affordable Housing Trust has begun community meetings to plan for how the property should be redeveloped.

Chapter 40R is a zoning tool used to create overlay districts that allow for greater density in locations that are well connected to transit and employment opportunities. Projects with more than 12 units must reserve at least 20% of the units as affordable for residents who earn 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI).

Boston recently celebrated a 40R groundbreaking at Olmstead Green. This new residential community will be a mix of rental, ownership, senior housing, and community facilities on 42.5 acres, 18 of which are developable.

40R is a desirable tool because it provides state money and insurance against increased school costs. 40R districts are entitled to three types of payments from the state's Smart Growth Housing Trust Fund:
   1. zoning incentive payment based on the estimated number of units zoned.
   2. density bonus payment for each building permit issued.
   3. state reimbursement for increased school costs attributed to the development.

Density at the Alewife Quadrangle comes with challenges. Accommodating growth in this area of Cambridge creates a new neighborhood, which will require municipal services and create additional traffic density that must be carefully managed. We must also plan for flood resilience and the impacts of climate change. The benefit of developing this site as a 40R is that it would give the city an advantage in accessing state Massworks funds to mitigate these challenges.

Let's use the Massworks Infrastructure Fund to connect housing and transit.
The Massworks fund supports construction, reconstruction and expansion of infrastructure for sewers, utilities, streets, roads, traffic signals, curb cuts, parking, pedestrians and bikes. 40R style developments have a Massworks funding priority so long as 25% of the development is affordable. We should take advantage of this opportunity for state support.

The 2016 Massworks funding round awarded Boston $3.4 million for infrastructure improvements around the Jackson Square MBTA station. These improvements included new pedestrian walkways and bike paths linked to the Orange Line station, a new public road, sewer line improvements, and a new 3,000 square foot community plaza. As a result, $62.6 million has been invested in the construction of two new mixed-income housing properties that will create 144 new housing units, including 72 affordable apartments, and 2,400 square feet of retail space.

As we plan for the development of the quadrangle, we should think critically about how we connect our housing to the MBTA, mitigate traffic congestion, and promote bike and pedestrian access to the rest of the city. Massworks could help unlock the potential of this site.

Let's Use the Workforce Housing Tax Exemption to Encourage Middle-Income Housing Production
One of the challenges for affordability in Cambridge is reaching the middle-class, or, so-called "workforce housing." This income band is typically priced for households that earn 100-120% Area Median Income (AMI). In Cambridge, that is roughly up to an annual income of $112,000 for a family of three.

The Massachusetts General Laws provide a menu of property tax exemptions that municipalities may adopt. One new exemption is a local option that allows municipalities to enter into an exemption agreement with a property owner who builds middle-income housing. The exemption would last for two years during construction. After construction, a municipality would be able to phase-out the exemption for up to three years (75%, 50%, 25%). Property owners would be required to certify their rental prices with the municipality annually. If an owner fails to certify, the municipality may place a lien on the property for the exempted amount established under the agreement.

Let's Encourage Developers to make use of the MassHousing Workforce Housing Fund
The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (MassHousing) is the state's affordable housing development bank. We should encourage developers to make use of the agency's new $100 million middle income housing fund. This fund targets developments that build housing for households with incomes of 61%-120% of the Area Median Income (AMI). It should also be noted that at least 20% of the units in the development must be affordable to households earning at or below 80% AMI - the traditional standard for affordable housing.

Quincy recently celebrated MassHousing's allocation of $37.2 million dollars towards a five-story development containing 140 apartments. Twenty percent of the apartments will be for people with very low incomes, 60% will be for people with moderate incomes, and the rest will be market-rate units.

As we develop Alewife, Vail Court, and even the Volpe site near Kendall, we should encourage developers to leverage this important state resource.

Let's Advocate for a State Income Tax Credit for Below Market Rents of Unsubsidized Units
One challenge for the housing market in Greater Boston is that there isn't enough "naturally occurring affordable" rental opportunities. You either qualify for subsidized housing or you can afford market rents, which are often set at luxury prices. This will continue to be a challenge until supply meets the regional demand. Until then, one idea could help incentivize landlords to offer below market rents that would mimic the "naturally occurring affordable" rent.

We should support the creation of a state income tax credit for individuals (not corporations) who rent their unsubsidized properties below market rate. This proposal would provide an income tax credit of $1,500 for each unit rented below market-rate. Market-rate would be determined by the "HOME rent limits" as determined by HUD. The credit would not be available for landlords who rent to family, and would be prorated by the number of months the unit is rented to a qualified tenant. This credit would not be refundable, but would be eligible to be carried over to subsequent years. To qualify, the property must be an unsubsidized 2-4 unit residential rental property.

Let's Advocate for an Increase to the State Income Tax Deduction for Rent Paid and a Federal Tax Credit for Rent-Burdened Taxpayer
Nearly half of all Americans are financially burdened by the cost of housing. A household is considered cost-burdened if it pays more than 30% of income to housing. In 2015, the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University ranked the Boston/Cambridge region tenth for housing cost burden.

Here are two policies we should support to ease the burden:

1) Our state tax deduction for rent paid hasn't increased since 2001. We should advocate to increase the deduction amount by adjusting for inflation, restrict eligibility to taxpayers who earn no more than 100% of the Area Median Income (AMI), and index the deduction to inflation for future growth.

2) We should also support federal legislation that would create a tax credit for taxpayers who pay more than 30% of their income in rent.

Let's work to preserve our affordable housing stock
Most of the state's stock of affordable housing units was built in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. These properties are privately owned but were produced using state and/or federal housing resources. For instance, the 13A mortgage interest subsidy program required owners commit to maintaining the affordability of these properties for a defined period of time - 20 to 40 years. In exchange the owner paid 1% interest and the state subsidized the remaining amount. As owners pay off their mortgages, the low-income use restrictions on these projects now face elimination. I am committed to preserving these so-called "expiring use" units. I will work with property owners, preservation non-profits, residents, and community groups to stop displacement and find creative ways to finance the rehabilitation and modernization of our stock in Cambridge.

a) Let's encourage the use of the Donation Tax Credit:
One recent development that I helped draft is the creation of the Donation Tax Credit for Affordable Housing. This tax credit can be awarded to owners of expiring use affordable housing who sell land to a non-profit at a below market price. The seller would use the state tax credit to offset their income tax bill for the year. Additionally, the seller would also leverage the federal deduction for charitable donations to lower their federal tax liability. This would allow for a preservation non-profit to compete with a market rate developer.

b) Let's use City Funds for Preservation
As one of the first municipalities to adopt the Community Preservation Act, we must continue to think strategically about how we can use these funds to support preservation of affordable housing. We also must continue to find innovative ways to use city funds to help finance preservation deals. One idea, for instance, is to advocate for tax parity between hotels and AirBnB and increasing the local option tax amount. Another idea is to draft a home rule petition for a luxury real estate transfer tax. (see below on both).

c) Let's Support the Affordable Housing Bond Bill
We must support the passage of a $1.4 billion housing bond bill in the state legislature that will allocate funds for preservation and rehabilitation of expiring use property and affordable housing production.

d) Let's Advocate for Co-Op Enabling Legislation
We should advocate for enabling legislation that would allow for the formation of housing co-ops. Essentially, this would provide a right of first refusal for tenants to purchase the property at fair market value before going to a third party developer. Moreover, tenants would be able to assign their rights to a nonprofit Community Development Corporation or preservation group. These groups could help with financing, securing tax credits, or stand in the shoes of the tenants to make use of the Donation Tax Credit. This could also be used as an important tool to fight against displacement of tenants from unsubsidized units.

Washington D.C. has a successful program, and we should explore the same in Massachusetts and Cambridge.

Let's Create a Luxury Real Estate Transfer Tax
To reduce speculative real estate holdings we should consider a luxury real estate transfer tax. Somerville has a working group looking at this issue. A Nantucket home rule petition has gotten the attention of lawmakers and was reported out favorably from the Revenue Committee. The Nantucket bill could serve as a model.

The Nantucket bill would allow the municipality to impose a fee upon the transfer of any real property interest. The fee would be 0.5% of the sale price in excess of $2 million, paid to to town, and deposited into the Affordable Housing Trust. If the fee isn't paid, the municipality may collect 14% interest plus penalties.

Let's Support Community Scale Housing for Moderate Density
As a general approach to housing, I believe in density and increasing supply. Density brings us diversity. Density allows for our inclusionary zoning to work. Density improves environmental sustainability, reduces sprawl and promotes walking, biking, and placemaking. Moreover, by accepting density we show the Greater Boston region that we are a leader in confronting our housing challenges, strengthening our leverage in encouraging density from our suburban neighbors.

I also understand that certain areas of the city may not be appropriate for density on a grand scale. A 500 unit or 250 unit building may not make sense in areas that are not as well serviced by the T, for example. But I still think we can do better.

Supporting programs like "Community-Scale Housing" could help accommodate density in these areas. This program would provide grants for developments of less than 20 units that do not make use of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. These developments are required to provide no less than 25% affordability at 80% AMI or no less than 50% affordability up to 110% AMI.

Let's Measure Our Success
The Community Development Department should publish quarterly, semi-annual, or annual reports that look at the local housing market, population growth, and affordability. Reports on the success our inclusionary zoning requirement as well as a record of community benefits realized through developer negotiations should be outlined for policymakers and residents to measure our success and make adjustments.

Let's consider increasing the room occupancy tax and advocate for its application to Short Term Rentals
We should advocate for the state to tax short-term rentals like hotels and motels. In short, if it is run like a hotel or motel, it should be taxed as such.

Cambridge has the highest local option room occupancy excise allowed by law (6%), which is on top of the state excise (5.7%). Boston, however, is the only city that may establish a higher excise than other municipalities (6.5%).

The council should confer with the City Manager's office to examine the revenue impact of a half percentage point increase, as well as any negative consequences from such an increase. Depending on the result of such study, the council should advocate for Cambridge to join Boston in taxing room occupancy at 6.5%.

Let's Demand a Multifamily Planning Mandate In Chapter 40A (The Zoning Act)
Cambridge should band together with our partners in the inner-core of Greater Boston to demand that more housing be built by our suburban neighbors. Nearly all housing in the past few years has been built in Cambridge, Boston, Somerville, Chelsea, and Everett.

We should advocate within the Massachusetts Municipal Association and the Democratic state party to back legislation that would require municipalities to plan and zone for at least one district where smart growth multifamily housing can proceed as-of-right. For too long, we've relied on Chapter 40B as the sole tool for suburban affordable housing development. Chapter 40B is a state statute, which enables local Zoning Boards of Appeals to approve affordable housing developments under flexible rules if at least 20-25% of the units have long-term affordability restrictions. Developers may utilize the 40B process if the municipality has less than 10% of its housing stock dedicated to affordable housing.

While 40B should be celebrated for its success in bringing affordability, diversity, and access to suburban schools, the circumstances of the housing crisis require our neighbors, particularly those positioned along transit lines, to plan for density, affordability, and smart growth. Our future depends on it.

Statement on Harvard Square submitted to the Harvard Square Neighborhood Association:
I grew up in West Cambridge along the 72 Huron Ave. bus route. I remember one morning when I was a kid someone walked by my Dad and asked, "how do I get to Harvard Sq.?" He replied by simply pointing up, "See those trolley wires? Follow those and you'll be there in fifteen minutes." Harvard Square, or simply, "The Square" has been a part of my family for three generations.

I never met my Grandparents, but I know for my dad and his brothers, Harvard Square in the 1950s was the center of the universe. Every weekend night the kids from the West Cambridge corners would congregate in front of the COOP and head to Charlie's Kitchen, the Wursthaus, or grab a bite to eat at one of the cafeterias along Mass Ave.

For me, Harvard Square was a place where you could hop on the bus to meet someone for dinner and a movie. Before the Internet changed the way we live, it was a place teeming with bookstores (shout-out to WordsWorth!), and large music chains like HMV and Tower Records. I first logged on-line at Cybersmith, and maybe even cut a class or two running through the Garage.

As a kid of modest means, Harvard Sq. gave me a sense of worldliness. In the words of Jane Jacobs, "By its nature, the metropolis provides what otherwise could be given only by traveling; namely, the strange." On the doorstep of Harvard University, Harvard Sq. supplied the strange. It was a clash of civilizations. But it worked.

A few years ago, Mayor Joseph Curtatone of Somerville called us out, "I remember in my youth when Harvard Square used to be fun and funky. You know, back before it got turned into a mall. Seriously, when did Cambridge become Natick?" I saw this shift when we lost places like the Coffee Connection, and were introduced to new shops like Abercrombie & Fitch, which is now a CVS. Today, we've been overrun by plenty of places to do your banking, but fewer places to spend your money.

We must hold on to what we've got. Places like Shays, Grendel's Den, Bartley's, Harvard Book Store, and other local businesses must be supported and celebrated. As a City Councillor, I will not only continue as a customer, but will be a voice for their success.

This Council deserves credit for their work towards re-activating the Harvard Square movie theater. Additionally, we should explore adopting the "Formula Business" provision from the Central Square Restoration Petition, which would allow greater control over which "chain stores" go into Harvard Square. I am also intrigued by the idea of creating pedestrian-only access on parts of JFK St. on Friday or Saturday nights. This could start as a once or twice a month pilot program that would run from September through November, and again in the late spring. The city could permit vendors for increased foot-traffic, community engagement, and artisan exposure, something we could all benefit from.

Pro-active approaches are necessary to keep Harvard Square alive. But we also must not oppose businesses that will bring life to the Square at all hours of the day and evening. In short, we need storefronts that attract people and don't go dark at 5:00pm.

The Square has changed and will continue to change. While I am nostalgic for our past, I understand our future may take a different form. With my connection to our past, and aspirations for a better future, I hope to earn your confidence and #1 vote on November 7th.

Statement submitted to Cambridge Bicycle Safety:
Question asked: "I will vote for a municipal ordinance that requires the city to install at least 4 miles of pop-up protected bike lanes each year until the city-wide protected network is complete and to install permanent protected bike lanes when the streets specified as part of the city-wide protected network are reconstructed."

I sign this pledge with some reservation because of the nuance that is required in formulating a comprehensive public policy to accommodate bikes, cars, pedestrians, and public transit, particularly in a city that is not designed for this type of multi-use.

But we need to figure it out. We've experienced tragedy as a city with the loss of life. As a candidate, I have heard from people who are living with chronic pain from accidents. I also ride a bike and at times roll up on the sidewalk because I can't handle the stress of cars, trucks, other bikes, as well as parked cars. The future of Cambridge, and all cities for that matter, is livable, walkable, transit-oriented neighborhoods where a car isn't necessary and people can commute safely.

With this commitment that I am signing, I think we should also establish a transportation working group. Membership would be comprised of one member of the Cambridge Bike Safety group, a representative from the Business Associations (e.g. Harvard, Central, East, etc..), one member of the school committee, one member from the City Council, a member from the Community Development Department, A member from the council on aging, A member from Cambridge Police, a member from Cambridge Fire, and three Cambridge resident members selected by the City Manager who have experience or interest in transportation, city planning, civil engineering, or any other relevant background that could be helpful to the discussion.

This group would be charged with discussing with each other ideas for improving bike safety, such as, but not limited to, separated lanes, pop-up lanes, traffic enforcement; challenges to small business (e.g. parking); lessons learned from the Cambridge St. and Brattle St. implementation; as well as model designs from other cities.

This group would also be responsible for disseminating information to their respective constituencies about upcoming meetings regarding bike lanes, pop-up lanes, and road reconstruction.

At the end of the day, a Vision Zero Policy does not have to be a zero-sum game. We must work together to plan for Cambridge's future, and the first step is to start talking to each other.

Answers submitted to Cambridge Crate the Vote 2017:
1) Your Personal Connection: We've all had defining moments in our lives. What personal connections with the arts and creative expression have had an impact on your life and views of the community?

Growing up in Cambridge, the arts were brought into our lives through the school curriculum and the public commitment to art festivals, public art, and exposure to live music, and interesting street performers.

As a young person, I gravitated towards hip-hop and its culture. There is something about its sense of community, diversity, and openness. I was involved in rhyming, a little break dancing, and maybe even a little graffiti. When I look back on it, maybe it got us into a little bit of trouble, but for the most part we were creative, and using our time productively and in an interesting way. We incorporated live music, discussed different artists, and approaches to hip-hop.

I wasn't as talented as my friends. Many went on to Berklee College of Music, and are today still involved in music. But my connection to them throughout my life brought me to the arts, and a supporter of them. Some of my friends who were part of that crew but didn’t get involved in rhyming, went on to produce great works of art in their own right, from tattoos to canvass paintings.

I am lucky to have had a personal connection to the arts and benefited greatly from the hip hop scene of the 2000s.

2) City Investment in the Arts: As a City Councilor, how would you ensure Cambridge arts and creative community receives the funding it needs to fully realize its potential as a driving force in the community? While city investment in the Cambridge Arts Council has increased over past few years, direct support to the arts and cultural community does not meet the demand. Would you support a dedicated funding stream to provide stable funds for the creative community? At what financial level should the city invest in the Cambridge arts and creative sector?

Yes. I do not know a specific level that it should be funded. But we must incorporate the arts into our public spaces. If you look back at the buildings of the "New Deal Era," government prioritized craftsmanship and art into our public buildings: the marble work, the paintings, and the sculptures. We have a tradition of creating public spaces that are impressive and interesting. We should value art for what it is, but we should also value art for what it means for our community, even when we do not notice it and it is incorporated into the public landscape.

3) Supporting Diverse and Inclusive City: Cambridge is a diverse and thriving community. How would you use the creative community to build connections that maintain and support the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity that makes this city thrive?

It starts in our schools. As we think about how to take advantage of the Kendall Sq. economy and get our children into science, tech, engineering, we also have to prioritize the arts. Not all paths for children will lead to a liberal arts or science focus. Some students would benefit from greater emphasis and cultivation of their interest in the arts. We should invest in strong out-of-school time (afterschool) programing for children and parents who want to it. As with science and tech, sometimes all a child needs is to be exposed to the arts and they can set their sights on a passion for their life.

I also have an idea that I would like to work on that would bring high school students together with older residents and produce creative storytelling podcasts where students would interview long-time residents to tell an oral history of Cambridge. This could be a unique way to bring civic and cross-cultural engagement, teach skills to our students, and create a living history of our city.

4) Public Art and Creative Placemaking: Cambridge's public art program is the oldest in the country. The city has a long history of supporting public art, yet caps and limits on funding have hampered artists' abilities to fully engage and serve the communities. Would you consider expanding the program to require a percent for arts on private development projects, as well as public ones? Would you support expanding the use of % for arts funds beyond visual arts to performing arts?

Yes. Relates to my answer above. Public art has a history in our placemaking and we should recommit ourselves to it. With governments relying more on the private market to develop and build, we should incorporate out public art and creative place making into the design process for private projects. This is a great idea.

5) Space to Rehearse, Create and Live: The lack of affordable studio space and housing makes it hard for artists to stay in Cambridge. How would you keep artists of all backgrounds in the city and provide the support necessary to thrive?

As you know there has been a lot of talk about using the foundry space for, among other things, performing arts. In addition, as we continue to create more housing, and get our 20% inclusionary rate to work, we should also think about how we can support artists. For instance, my friend is a painter and lives in Somerville in subsidized housing. He is a landscaper by day and paints at night. He has inexpensive rent, and the housing is built in such a way that promotes creativity. In the kitchen/living area there are two sinks, one for dishes, and one for paint supplies.

6) Public Events: Some community institutions and artist groups have problems gaining access to public spaces in which they can gather, perform, create, and connect with the public. Would you encourage ways to allow more activity in community spaces?

Yes. This sounds like a great opportunity for inter community engagement, which we desperately need. Everyone in this city talks about the desire for more cross-cultural engagement. The arts can, and should, have a significant role in creating these opportunities for connection.

7) Youth Engagement: Answered above.

8) Corporate and Institutional Support for Arts and Creativity: Cambridge is home to many large corporate offices and world renowned educational institutions, whose workers and students enjoy Cambridge's cultural assets. What responsibility should these institutions have in supporting arts and creative expression in Cambridge?

An enormous responsibility, particularly since many of the non-profit institutions (including Harvard and MIT) do not pay property taxes.

9) Your Go to Places: Cambridge is blessed with a rich mix of arts and cultural organizations. Please tell us about two places where you have had personally significant connections to the arts and/or cultural experiences.

Music is where I get my art fix. Last month I went to a hip-hop show at one of our staples, The Middle East. I've been to Sinclair numerous times, and have been impressed by the live music at Beat.

I also was recently introduced to the StorySLAMS of NPR's "The Moth" storytelling at Oberon. Can't wait to go back.

I also have the following endorsements:
A Better Cambridge
Cambridge Firefighters Local 30
Cambridge Police Patrol Officers Association
Massachusetts & Northern New England Laborers' District Council
Carpenters Local Union #40
Local 103, IBEW
Ironworkers' Local 7
Laborers' Local 151
Run For Something

Sean Tierney is a new candidate this year.

Sean Tierney for Cambridge City CouncilSean TierneyThurs, Mar 9, 2017 – Sean Tierney announced today his candidacy for Cambridge City Council. Mr. Tierney is the Research Director & Legal Counsel for the Joint Committee on Housing for the Massachusetts State Legislature. In his announcement, Mr. Tierney highlighted his housing and public policy experience as crucial attributes that he would bring to the Council.

“I want to use my experience as a housing policy attorney to help Cambridge adequately address our housing needs. I am committed to developing city policies that help our longtime residents stay in our neighborhoods. I also recognize the profound need for new housing options for all income levels. This is a challenging issue for Cambridge. We must work together, but we must also partner with our municipal neighbors to confront our housing shortage as a regional crisis,” Mr. Tierney said.

In an email and Facebook message to supporters, Mr. Tierney credited his Cambridge upbringing for defining his values, political philosophy, and commitment to the Cambridge community.

“I am a proud graduate of the Cambridge Public Schools and continue to volunteer as a football coach for the Falcons. At Cambridge Rindge and Latin we were taught the importance of our high school’s motto: “opportunity, diversity, and respect.” We learned to recognize gaps in opportunity and understand the roots of inequality and privilege; to celebrate our differences, and treat each other with compassion and dignity; to question the status quo and to believe that through hard work, dedication, and consensus, we can always do better. These are the core values that drive my candidacy,” Mr. Tierney said.

Mr. Tierney began his career working at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics where he ran the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum. The Tierney campaign highlighted their candidate’s dedication to public service:

  • Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Teaching Fellow, City on a Hill High School in Roxbury.
  • Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy, Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.
  • Legal Intern, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice.
  • Cambridge Ward 9 Delegate, 2014 State Democratic Convention.
  • Fellow, New Leaders Council, a training program for progressive Millenials.
  • Deputy Legal Counsel, Committee on Revenue at Massachusetts Legislature.
  • Research Director & Legal Counsel, Committee on Housing at Massachusetts Legislature.

Mr. Tierney hopes to weave Cambridge’s rich history with the exciting possibilities of the city’s growing economy. He is committed to fostering pipelines of opportunity for all residents by leveraging our universities and the innovation economy.

“I believe that our diverse history and shared values will guide us as we work together to make Cambridge an inclusive and world-class city for generations. As city councilor, I will honor this history and represent our shared future,” Tierney said.

In his announcement, Mr. Tierney summed up his campaign in one sentence, “This is who I am, and this is what this campaign is all about: The City of Cambridge.”

Contact: 857-217-4236

Sean Tierney for Cambridge City CouncilStatement from Sean Tierney, Candidate for Cambridge City Council

My name is Sean Tierney and I am running for Cambridge City Council. I am a lifelong Cambridge resident, a volunteer in our community, and a housing policy attorney for the State Legislature. As your next city councilor, I will use my public policy experience and my passion for Cambridge to build a future for all city residents.

A Dedication to Public Service
I began my professional career working at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. I hosted national and international leaders and learned about the importance of strong and effective leadership. Inspired by President Kennedy’s famous words that an “educated citizen has an obligation to serve the public,” I decided to attend law school with the goal of serving my community.

In law school, I committed myself to public service opportunities. I taught Constitutional Law and coached a moot court team at City on a Hill High School in Roxbury, researched election law issues for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, and served as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. Now, as a licensed attorney, I develop affordable housing policy for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

I hope to continue on my path as a public servant for our city.

A Pro-Housing Agenda
I want to use my experience as a housing policy attorney to help Cambridge adequately address our housing needs. I am committed to developing city policies that help our longtime residents stay in our neighborhoods. I also recognize the profound need for new housing options for all income levels. This is a challenging issue for Cambridge. We must work together, but we must also partner with our municipal neighbors to confront our housing shortage as a regional crisis.

Cambridge Values
I am a proud graduate of the Cambridge Public Schools and continue to volunteer as a football coach for the Falcons. At Cambridge Rindge and Latin, we were taught the importance of our high school’s motto: “opportunity, diversity, and respect.” We learned to recognize gaps in opportunity and understand the roots of inequality and privilege; to celebrate our differences, and treat each other with compassion and dignity; to question the status quo and to believe that through hard work, dedication, and consensus, we can always do better. These are the core values that drive my candidacy.

A Commitment to Community
Sean TierneyCambridge is many things to many people. It is a new and exciting place centered around our universities, life sciences, and technology sector. It’s also a community with deep roots, family ties, and streets that are neighborhoods.

To me, Cambridge is also a place where friendships are forged on our athletic fields and in our classrooms; it’s playing on Huron Ave. and sleepovers on Western. It’s an afternoon in Jefferson Park and a night in Harvard Square. It’s S&S wings, Coast Café, Angelo’s cheese fries, Izzy’s, and a slice at Armando’s. It’s 1369 coffee, Memorial Drive on Sunday afternoons, and the graffiti wall on Modica Way. It’s Hoyt Field, Gold Star Pool, and a walk around Fresh Pond. It’s helping your neighbor shovel snow and finding a gift of Haitian griot and pikliz at your door. It’s art, it’s style, it’s individuality, and at the same time it’s community.

I believe that our diverse history and shared values will guide us as we work together to make Cambridge an inclusive and world-class city for generations. As city councilor, I will honor this history and represent our shared future.

This is who I am and this is what this campaign is all about: The City of Cambridge.

I look forward to meeting you and hearing your story.

Page last updated Friday, October 13, 2017 11:49 AM Cambridge Candidates