City Council Fails To Elect Mayor

During a relatively brief Cambridge City Council meeting, the councillors failed for a seventh time to elect a mayor.

Every two years, the nine members of the Cambridge City Council elect a  mayor from amongst themselves.

Cambridge uses a Plan E form of government, meaning the City Council hires a city manager who has the responsibility of dealing with the day-to-day affairs of the city.

The mayor chairs the Council, is a voting member and the chairperson of the School Committee, and receives a substantial pay increase.

To be elected, a candidate needs a majority of the nine votes of his fellow councillors.

Councillor Leland Cheung, a student at the Kennedy School of Government and the MIT Sloan School of Management, has been consistently collecting three votes—his own, and those of Councillors E. Denise Simmons and Minka Y. vanBeuzekom. No other candidate received more than two votes on the last ballot.

The Council voted once more on Monday, despite the absence of Councillor Craig A. Kelley.

Councillor Timothy J. Toomey Jr. voted for Councillor David P. Maher, who has served as mayor for the past two years.

This was Toomey’s first vote for anyone other than himself since the first ballot on Jan. 2, when both he and Maher voted for Maher.

Since no councillor won a majority of the votes, the Council remains without a mayor.

Two Cambridge Rindge and Latin School students also addressed the Council on the issue of student MBTA passes.

The monthly passes, which are currently sold to students for $20, only work on weekdays until 11 p.m.

The MBTA is considering proposals that would raise the fare to either $39 or $40.

“It adds insult to injury. Already they don’t work on weekends. Already they’re very limited, and to double the price is just ridiculous for students,” said Zachary A. Spitz, a sophomore at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.

The passes, at the proposed price of $40, would cost $400 for students who need to buy them for each of the 10 months of the school year.

“My parents did pay for mine,” Spitz said. “But I know a lot of parents can’t afford it.”

Allentza Michel accompanied the students to the meeting. Michel is an adult member of the Youth Involvement Subcommittee, which is a part of the Cambridge Kids’ Council.

“Now’s a worse time than ever to start raising fares,” she said. “If people are arguing that they can’t afford $20 now, then to double that is just out of the question.”

The Council voted unanimously to request that the city manager arrange for a meeting between the students and the MBTA.

—Staff writer Maya S. Jonas-Silver can be reached at