Candidates Discuss Campaign Issues

Development. Affordable housing. City services. Environmental protection. Crime. "Schools.

With the abolition of rent control, there's no single overriding issue to unite the Cambridge Civic Association (CCA) slate this year, but there are a host of important ones. And the candidates are working to persuade voters that they are best equipped to move the city forward.

Voters are concerned chiefly with insuring planned, orderly growth during the present era of tremendous business investment and development, says Councillor Francis H. Duehay '55.

"We're at a crossroads never before faced," he says. Duehay should know: he has lived in Cambridge his entire life.

But the means for controlling growth is an issue itself, as candidates debate how to balance the preservation of neighborhoods and the construction of new shopping complexes.


Candidates know this is a wedge issue in post-rent control Cambridge, and they are playing it for all it's worth.

"I will not sacrifice your family's future to corporate greed," says candidate Craig A. Kelly.

Providing affordable housing for those displaced by the loss of rent control is another issue, according to Lester P. Lee, Jr. "There is a quiet exodus," he says.

Candidates are also talking tough about crime. The current council is readying to embark on a search to replace outgoing Police Commissioner Perry L. Anderson, and Councillor Katherine L. Born is calling for "continued community policing efforts."

The CCA leadership is pushing its own issues oriented toward the technical side of good government, according to CCA President Geneva T. Malenfant.

Candidates endorsed by the group are seeking means to provide cost-effective delivery of services in light of federal and state budget cuts, she said.

The group also wants to conduct a nationwide search to replace Anderson and School Superintendent Mary Lou McGrath, whose contract will expire in June 1997.

The group hopes to attract candidates "who will understand a city this size yet this diverse," Malenfant said.

CCA-backed candidates are promoting their own pet projects, as well. Duehay said he will fight to maintain the city-wide Cambridge Hospital network, to create a preservationist Harvard Square Historic Business District and to monitor cleanup of a chemical pollution site threatening the Cambridge water supply.

Kelly, who relies solely on public transportation for his 40-mile work commute, said he would labor as an "advocate for alternative transportation" and push for increased bus service and construction of bicycle lanes on major roadways.

Kelly said he would also sponsor citywide seminars to educate residents about public transportation and push for strict enforcement of traffic safety laws.

But while candidates intend to stay focused on the issues as they pound the pavement and press the flesh, some expect other intangibles to play a role in garnering those final votes.

"Personality always plays a role," Lee said.

Recommended Articles