Kristen von Hoffmann
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June 27, 2013 letter
I'd like to express my support for the "Connolly Petition," filed on Wednesday, June 19th by twenty-six Cambridge residents. This citizens' zoning petition would require most large building construction projects to meet a standard of net zero emissions of greenhouse gases. It was filed by Cambridge attorney, Mike Connolly, in conjunction with Green Cambridge, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
I believe that we have a responsibility to make cutting-edge sustainability a top priority for the City of Cambridge. I would like to thank and recognize the many individuals and departments in Cambridge who have already worked tirelessly on environmental issues, including our City Council, City Manager, the Department of Public Works, and our Community Development Department, among others.
However, I believe that moving forward as a municipality we must take even bolder steps at the government level. Such bold steps can be done thoughtfully and with careful consideration. I believe the Connolly Petition is one such step in the right direction.
Key elements of the amendment include a review by the Planning Board to be added to the existing Project Review Special Permit process for traffic and urban design impacts, the encouragement of both energy efficiency and onsite renewable energy, and finally, a requirement that all energy consumed on site, beyond renewable energy generated on site, must be from approved renewable sources or offset by verifiable renewable energy credits.
One of the reasons I think this is an excellent amendment is because it requires that developers incorporate the design aspect of creating a net zero building from the start. Designing for a net zero building is admittedly a comprehensive process, particularly in urban settings. However, as Connolly's petition describes, net zero can be achieved in various ways, and working towards that goal from day one is much easier.
Sustainable systems are intended to mitigate humans' impact on the natural environment. I currently work in sustainability management, and I've managed multiple projects that have saved both energy and money. I want the City of Cambridge to be a national leader for green job growth, clean energy, and innovative solutions to fighting climate change. We have tremendous resources in technology and education here in Cambridge, and I want to capitalize on that strength.
As we move forward in the age of climate change, sustaining the City of Cambridge will require taking actions that are both thoughtful and bold.
Kristen von Hoffmann
June 15, 2013 letter
While we need to focus on planning for density in and near Cambridge, we must do so with the intent to create sustainable systems, and to build a city that can thrive well into the future. By sustainable, I mean a city that preserves critical aspects of Cambridge that are unique and special, while also accounting for elements that must change.
Sustainability means building and planning with the natural environment in mind, and with respect to neighborhoods, businesses, and universities. When I look at an issue like the development of our precious, few remaining acres of wetlands, I am appalled.
How can we be so short-sighted? We are living in a world, a city, and a context that demands leadership that will fight to preserve our precious remaining open spaces. We are living in a world that demands innovative leadership, not the status quo. Instead of destroying this forest, we need to think creatively about how to design for the future, and how to build housing in places that can accommodate new development with the least hazardous impact. Razing a beautiful and rare space such as the Silver Maple Forest and uprooting a rich wildlife corridor that runs through Cambridge, Belmont, and Arlington is simply unacceptable.
The forest and wetlands are extremely important in the age of climate change, as they absorb water runoff after storms and flooding. As we are seeing greater increases in rainfall and more destructive storms, it is crucial to preserve this important open space that acts as a natural sponge and mitigates the effects of these storms.
The citizen-based Belmont Coalition and the Friends of Alewife Reservation are both plaintiffs in an active lawsuit to stop this development, and their continuous appeals have kept the forest intact so far. But time is running out. I urge you to contact your city councilors, town selectman and state legislators directly, and to ask them to stop this development from happening.
This is not the time for complacency. Please make your voices heard.
June 5, 2013 Press Release
On Tuesday I attended the ethanol trains safety briefing at the King Open School. I hoped that the presentation would allay my initial concerns surrounding the ethanol trains. I left the meeting believing we need to fight even harder than we have against this proposal.
Of the routes studied by the Department of Transportation, two travel through Cambridge. Route One travels directly through Porter Square. Route Two, through East Cambridge, brings the train incredibly close to MIT’s Nuclear Reactor Laboratory. Surprisingly, the reactor situation was not addressed in the March 29th Safety Impact Report. Neither of these options is acceptable.
I would like to commend Senators Anthony Petruccelli, Sal DiDomenico, and Pat Jehlen on their efforts prevent Global Partners from receiving the Chapter 91 license necessary to upgrade their facility to accommodate these trains. Preventing the proposed upgrades could prevent the transportation of ethanol through our city.
However, Global will almost certainly mount a legal challenge and given the history of federal preemption surrounding the rail system, I am not sure the action to block the Chapter 91 license will stand. While this tactic is effective, I am afraid that it will ultimately be nothing more than a band-aid.
We need a longer term solution to this issue. So I am inviting you to join me in sending a letter to the offices of Senators Elizabeth Warren and Mo Cowan, and the offices of Representatives Ed Markey, Mike Capuano, and Stephen Lynch, encouraging them to explore any and all legislative options that will prevent the transportation of massive quantities of dangerous materials through densely populated areas nation-wide, but especially here in Cambridge.
On my website, you can see the letter I sent to our elected representatives. You can also print a copy to send to your elected representatives. http://www.kristenforcambridge.com/ethanol-trains
Kristen von Hoffmann - Candidate for Cambridge City Council
From a Feb 24, 2013 Press Release:
Cambridge resident Kristen von Hoffmann has formally announced her candidacy for Cambridge City Council.
Von Hoffmann, who currently works as the Sustainability Manager for the Cambridge Public Schools, plans on bringing her experience in sustainable practices, financial savings, and education to the municipal government.
Kristen previously taught 5th grade for several years in the area and also founded a local 501(c)3 non-profit, Greenfox Schools, Inc., that has taught environmental science and math curriculums in Cambridge Public Schools. She was hired in 2010 as the first Sustainability Manager for the Cambridge Public School District. Notably, while she has served as Sustainability Manager, initiatives launched by her office saved the school district $300,000 in under two years.
In regards to her campaign, she states, "I look forward to spending this year listening to the residents of Cambridge, engaging in conversations that explore our values, and using our skills and experience together to improve the well-being of our city."
Janie Katz-Christy, Director of the Green Streets Initiative and a local Cambridge parent says, "I've known Kristen for many years now, as a colleague and friend, and have been impressed with her effectiveness, intelligence, and ability to collaborate. I am confident she will be a force for the best interests and overall well-being of the City of Cambridge."
CCTV candidate video (2013)
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