Read the latest news and press releases from David Maher.
By ALYZA J SEBENIUS, Contributing Writer, Harvard Crimson
Published: Monday, October 31, 2011
Cambridge Mayor David P. Maher, who is up for reelection this term, lives just around the corner from where he grew up.
Maher, who has resided in Cambridge all his life, has extensive experience in City politics; he has served four terms on the School Committee and six terms on City Council, and is currently the chair of both.
Maher says he is committed to completing and expanding upon the projects he has undertaken during his time in office, while tempering the ideological with the practical when it comes to politics.
“It’s about taking a pragmatic approach to local government and to being able to understand the environment that we’re in, the challenges we face, and trying to address all of that,” he says.
Maher says his father, who was a police officer, encouraged his commitment to public service.
“He instilled this sense of giving back to the community and so I would definitely say he had a major impact on my getting into politics,” he says.
Another early source of inspiration was former President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated when Maher was five. “I think that sense of giving back to the community and people stepping up to be heard is something that I admired both as a young child and something that shaped me a little bit as a teen,” Maher says.
During his tenure, Maher has worked to improve the quality public education in Cambridge, both in terms of programs and facilities.
Maher recently worked to pass the Innovation Agenda to improve Cambridge public education, an initiative that will revamp public schools. The schools, which used to be K-8, will now be K-5, and Cambridge will see the advent of 6-8 schools. Roughly 80 children per grade will attend each of these 4 junior high school campuses. This change will be implemented in September 2012.
Maher calls the initiative “amazing,” adding that the end goal is to create more academically rigorous schools.
In addition, Maher has overseen the renovation of Cambridge Rindge and Latin, the city’s high school.
Coupled with four elementary schools that Maher will be rebuilding, the total construction price is over a quarter of a billion dollar investment in public education.
“We’ve go to get this right. We owe it to the kids that go here,” Maher says. “If there is any community that can do it right it is Cambridge,” adding that Cambridge spends more money per student than any other city in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Ruby Pierce, a friend of Maher who worked at Cambridge Rindge and Latin for 34 years and the Cambridge NAACP Education Chair, emphasizes the importance of Maher’s work, noting the glaring discrepancy that currently exists between the quality levels at different public lower schools. She says that she can usually identify which school each high school student went to just by talking to them.
Pierce says that Maher brought together a divided school committee to pass this educational agenda. She said she believes that if Maher is not reelected to the city council it could be “detrimental” to the implementation of his plan.
“I hope David can continue this dream of ours. It is heartbreaking that not every kid is not treated equally,” she says.
But Virginia W. Childs, Cambridge public school parent, is critical of the educational plan. “I don’t think they really listened to the parents in favor of the K-8 model,” she says. She believes that the transition to new 6-8 schools will foster social angst that will detract from academic success. Furthermore, the middle school students will no longer serve as role models on campus for the younger students.
In addition to his work on education, Maher, who spent two decades as a the director of the nonprofit organization Development for Cambridge Family and Children’s Services, has been an public health and environmental advocate. He has launched a campaign to inform young people about the harmful effects of cigarettes and other tobacco products, and passed legislation to make all Cambridge work places smoke-free zones.
Maher also says he is committed to maintaining the quality and vibrancy of neighborhoods, noting the economic strain the community currently suffers. “I am painfully aware of the challenges people are facing right now,” Maher says of the economy.
He has worked to form neighborhood coalitions, revitalize Central Square, and expand outdoor spaces. Maher has also attempted to forge relationships among the city and its businesses and schools. One of his projects as Mayor is to develop a formalized relationship between Cambridge businesses, universities, and public schools. As First Chair of the City’s University Relations Committee, Maher was in charge of the negotiations that led to Harvard’s agreement to build and finance affordable housing and a new parking lot on Memorial Drive.
Maher has fought to promote affordable housing through a variety of initiatives such as the Community Preservation Act. This initiative ensures that Cambridge spends $11 million annually on affordable housing. His Silver Ribbon Commission works to assess the future needs of seniors.
Maher says he believes that young people are especially hard hit by the current job market. College graduates are increasingly living at home, entering low-paying jobs, or taking jobs that are not career-oriented or specific to their education.
“David believes in everyone,” says Pierce. “Everyone has an opportunity in Cambridge. He believes that no matter what background you come from, you deserve the same thing as everyone else.”
“This is probably the most challenging time for young people in a very long period of time,” Maher says. “My hope is that we are starting to see a recovery that offers more opportunities for young people. I just don’t want young people to feel like they are left behind.”
Attorney James J. Rafferty grew up with Maher in West Cambridge and served for a term with him on the Cambridge School Council. Rafferty says that throughout Maher’s long tenure in Cambridge politics, he has maintained the enthusiasm, committed work ethic, and energy with which he began his political career. And he cites Maher’s “impressive” mediating skills as a vital asset to the city.
“He cares immensely about Cambridge and all of its neighborhoods. You don’t get the sense that it is a stepping-stone,” he says. “He always wants to make this a better place.”
Source: The Harvard Crimson: http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/10/31/mayor-maher-cambridge-election/
David has been a strong supporter of the Green Streets Initiative’s aim to create safer, healthier and quieter streets and a more vibrant community for commuters. During his term as Mayor, David Maher’s office has provided printing and logistical support and recently, David Maher acquired the funding which the Green Streets Initiative will use to expand their operation and outreach throughout the entire Cambridge Community.
The Green Streets Initiative is an international grassroots organization based in Cambridge that celebrates and promotes the use of sustainable, active transportation. Through their signature monthly "Walk/Ride Days" and other community and educational efforts, they help people personally experience the ways that environmentally friendly and healthier modes of transportation can enhance their lives.
During his term as Mayor, David Maher has worked not only to improve the academic experience of Cambridge School children, but also to expand opportunities for improving their well-being. Two opportunities that David supported and secured critical funding for are CitySprouts and CycleKids.
CitySprouts is a school and community program that integrates academic, health and environmental education in the public schools and in the neighborhood. Working closely with school administrators, teachers and families, CitySprouts creates school gardens and provides essential support to schools as they extend existing curricula to these outdoor classrooms. CitySprouts program operates at all 12 elementary schools in Cambridge, serving every child in the city.
This year, David Maher obtained the necessary funds to allow the CitySprouts’ Summer Internship to take place. This program provides young teens with an intensive month of growing and harvesting food in an urban garden, expanding their first-hand experience of preparing and eating healthy food and fostering a strong connection to their natural urban environment.
CycleKids mission is to get children on bicycles and engage them in a physical activity that addresses health and emotional issues facing today’s under-active, and, often, overweight children. Because of the funding that David secured, the CycleKids program will expand to every Cambridge elementary school this academic year.
By Scott Wachtler,
Wicked Local Cambridge
October 27, 2011
Biogen Idec's return to Cambridge was celebrated with a groundbreaking in Kendall Square Thursday.
In spite of rain and cold weather, officials broke ground on two buildings for the company's headquarters. Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. managed to break ground on the first building at 225 Binney St. in its $500 million, 1.73 million-square-foot, 11-acre, Alexandria Center science and technology campus at Kendall Square. The second building at 17 Cambridge Center, run by Boston Properties, will be 190,000 square feet.
Both Biogen buildings will be ready by 2013.
Biogen will return with 530 employees, and make 225 Binney St. the home of its executive offices. In 2008, the company moved most of its offices out of Cambridge, but kept its research and development in the city. The building at Binney Street will be a six-story, 307,000 square foot facility and will incorporate two historic buildings.
Patrick praised Alexandria for creating a “platform for investment” and creating jobs through private investment. He said this strategy is working in the commonwealth, which is growing GDP three times that of the national growth rate and adding jobs faster than 44 other states.
“The innovation economy is Massachusetts’ global calling card and projects like the Alexandria Center confirm that our investments are paying off,” Patrick said. “Alexandria’s Kendall Square development will create new jobs for the region and strengthen our already robust innovative economy.”
Joel Marcus, chairman and CEO of Alexandria, called the groundbreaking “a historic day and a really big win for Massachusetts and Cambridge.”
He said Alexandria chose Cambridge for four critical assets – a world-class location, great science, great management and access to smart capital.
Geore Scangos, CEO of Biogen Idec, called Kendall Square one of the word’s preeminent biotech clusters and at the epicenter of biotech research.
“The proximity to academic researchers, teaching hospitals and other biotech companies fosters the collaboration an exchange of scientific ideas that breeds innovation,” he said. “We’re looking forward to bringing all of our Massachusetts employees back together in this one location, and I believe it will help build the kind of culture and teamwork that is critical to our success as a company.”
Cambridge Mayor David Maher called the groundbreaking a great day for Cambridge. He said that although city is very supportive of having a strong business community, it is also important to balance the needs of the neighborhoods.
“It’s great to have Biogen back fully in Cambridge and being a good community partner,” he said. “We really looked into a long term plan to reinvigorate Kendall Square. To be able to bring shopping, dinning and housing into the square and connect it into the neighborhoods.”
Maher said the Alexandria Center will create more retail space and housing opportunities, in addition to the new lab and commercial space.
By Brock Parker,
October 20, 2011
The Faces discotheque sign, which outlasted disco, punk, and grunge music much to Cambridge’s chagrin, came down in a crunch of heavy metal yesterday just before noon.
The eyesore of a sign that greeted Route 2 commuters to the city for decades was razed and then crushed in what Criterion Development Partners said was the symbolic first step to tearing down the vacant old discotheque near Alewife T Station.
Jack Englert of Criterion, the new property owner, said demolition will begin in the next couple of weeks and an apartment building with 227 units will go up in its place.
More than 50 people, including city officials, developers, and neighbors, braved heavy rain to see the sign torn down. Some onlookers huddled under a tent.
“I thought I might cry I was so happy,’’ said Carolyn Mieth, 72, who lives in North Cambridge and said she has wanted the Faces sign and building down for years.
The nightclub has been vacant since 1990 and had been owned by the Martignetti family, which owns the neighboring Lanes and Games bowling alley and the Cambridge Gateway Inn.
Cambridge officials have been trying to get rid of the run-down building for years, but when City Manager Robert Healy inquired about the structural integrity of the building to see if the city could just tear it down, he learned that the building was still structurally sound.
Criterion Development Partners partnered with the McKinnon Co. and has been working to redevelop the property since 2006. A previous development proposal the group made derailed during the permit process.
But in March, Cambridge’s planning board approved the current development plan of one model unit and 227 apartment units, with about the same number of parking spaces and a pedestrian accessway to the nearby T stop.
Englert said Criterion Development Partners closed on the purchase of the property from the Martignetti family Monday.
In a short ceremony before the demolition of the sign, Mayor David Maher said that when he was in his 20s he spent many Friday and Saturday nights in Faces, and it was one of the best discotheques in the Boston area.
Others remembered the nightclub before it was known as Faces.
Lillian Orchard, 62, said she saw Ike and Tina Turner perform at the nightclub when it was the Empire Room in the early 1970s.
“We had a great time,’’ Orchard said. “They had the old crystal balls and they were live on stage and it was fantastic.’’
But Orchard, who is now an appraiser for the city of Cambridge, said the building condition has gotten worse over the years and she is not sorry to see it go.
Maher said the run-down sign and building had become an unsightly gateway to the city, and Cambridge residents often asked him what was going to happen next on the Faces site.
“Finally, today we are able to give an answer and a direction and a timeline and that is a very good thing for the community,’’ he said.
Englert said about a week of work has to be done inside before the old nightclub can be demolished.
The demolition work is expected to last about 30 days, and then construction on the apartment building is expected to take about two years.
But at least for yesterday, Englert knew that the main attraction to the property was seeing the symbolic start of the demolition.
“People were so excited to see the sign come down,’’ Englert said. “It was like the launching of a rocket. There’s just been so much pent-up interest in this site for 20 years.’’
Mayor David Maher welcomed the World Champion Boston Bruins to Harvard Square on Sunday October 16, 2011 as hundreds of Cambridge residents gathered to show their support for the Stanley Cup Champions. Bruins players Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ference, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin, and Shawn Thornton were paraded from the Harvard Lampoon building on Super Ducks Tour boats to the stage and crowds that awaited them. Mayor Maher welcomed the Bruins players to Cambridge and ceremonial crowned them “The Cambridge Bruins” acknowledging the teams large fan base in the city. “This is a great day in Cambridge. It is an honor for us to have the Boston Bruins with us today in Harvard Square and I know that all of us gathered here today were ecstatic when the Bruins brought the Stanley Cup back to Boston” said Mayor Maher.
The members of the Boston Bruins who were present and representing their team were happy to participate in the events of the day including performing in skits with the members of the Harvard Lampoon, the nation’s longest continually published humor magazine. Students from the Lampoon went on to declare the Boston Bruins “The Best Sports Team Ever” in honor of their dramatic Stanley Cup victory. To have the Bruins in Cambridge to hold a rally specifically for Cambridge residents was a thrill for all in attendance.
Cambridge has a proud history of sporting excellence including the numerous opportunities offered to students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin and to young people in all neighborhoods of the city. Mayor David Maher is a longtime supporter of youth sports and has worked to expand athletic opportunities for students, supported the renovation of the War Memorial Athletic Complex and he is a proud sponsor of Little League teams in both West and
As part of the Mayor’s commitment to the environment, David Maher, in the spring of 2010, reconvened members of the Cambridge Climate Congress along with city officials, members of the Climate Change Emergency Action Group, community partners, educators and researchers for the purpose of determining the next steps for achieving the 29 goals outlined in the 2009 Climate Congress report. After meeting monthly in the Mayor’s Office, this group developed a cooperative plan of action to achieve these goals.
This working group helped to establish a clear understanding of current ongoing city programs and plans that significantly address environmental issues. It also was an opportunity to revise the list of priorities for action based on the clear remaining areas of need.
To ensure that environmental concerns are given as much attention and focus as needed by the City Council, David Maher separated what was previously known as the “Health and Environment Committee” into two separate bodies; the “Community Health Committee” and the “Environment and Sustainability Committee”.
David continues to support the Climate Change Emergency Action Group in their publicity efforts and community events. Annually, they host a week of events open to the community where people can become engaged and active in environmental issues and local responses.
To learn more about the City of Cambridge’s efforts to combat climate change visit: http://www2.cambridgema.gov/cdd/et/climate/index.html
Copyright © 2012 David Maher