Plan E is not Democracy

Plan E is not Democracy

Plan E is not Democracy. We need to bring back Democracy to Cambridge with term limits, publicly financed campaign,

To think that the current system is not corrupt is to accept the illusion presented and to ignore reality and the facts. The developer contributions, as well as substantial individual donations, buy influence one way or another, the larger the contribution the more influence it gains. My platform is about Democracy, Plan E is not Democracy because we have no say in who the City Manager is gone be, i.e: we don’t elect the decision maker. Let us take the superintendent search, which highlights the disconnect between the administration and the people. The same thing is blatantly clear at the City level, where the necessity of commercial real estate taxes trumps any negative impact said development would have. It is the nature of the City Manager/CEO to bring as much revenue in the City as possible, and low residential taxes the joker used to pressure the City Council into accepting any and all decision of the City Manager. Let me hear a candidate in this race proposing a residential tax increase... Henceforth, Plan E is not Democracy.

We all know the weaknesses human nature brings to Democracy. What I propose to avoid the address them is a set of rules enhancing our home rule:

1. Transparency and Accountability
2. Publicly financed campaigns
3. Term limits
4. Non cumulation of public mandates

Publicly financed campaigns, we have an annual budget of $550 Millions, our biannual budget is $1.1billion, and currently incumbents are spending an average of 50K on campaigns. If we were to spend 4 million dollar of that 1.1 billion, less than 0.37% of our budget we could finance 80 candidates. 80 candidates is much more than we would ever have, and 4 millions is a drop in the bucket that is our budget, and really an investment in the people of Cambridge, and in the ideal that is Democracy. Henceforth lets take money out of politics all together.

Terms limits are also essential, as unfortunately voters are not term limits, and the proof is in the numbers, 95% of politicians seeking reelection, at federal, state, and local level get re-elected. We therefore need term limits, because it’s about engagement and participation. Without term limits the politician, with the necessary constituency, get reelected over and over again, which is not in itself bad in all cases, but inevitably is going to lead to disengagement... if a large number of people dislike that politician, since they can’t get her/him out through their vote, they will just pull out, stop participating. If we had 8 years term limits, instead of pulling out, the people would know their is an end to the time of that politician in office, and would get engage, and try to elect someone more to their liking when the opportunity comes. Term limits are about keeping us engage in our local government. Terms limits are also about participation. If we have 8 years term limits over a 20 year period 3 people will be doing public service, versus 1 individual staying 20 years, and becoming a professional politician, often serving more their interest than the interest of the people that elect them. Those 3 people could share their knowledge and be essential in helping others participating, just like for the presidency of the United States. Democracy is about us, the People, being active participant in our local government. Plan E does exactly the opposite, it’s a paternalist system rooted in white privilege, driving us, the People, away from civic engagement.

A directly elected Mayor can offer a vision and a plan for our city, a City Manager cannot. And the weak city council is a hodgepodge of different policies that are good campaign material but never materializes in effective policy. In order to address the deep, and important issues facing our city with need leadership, and this leadership can only come from a directly elected Mayor. I would also like to point out that Boston and Somerville and NY have not done too bad under a directly elected Mayor. And to point to the City Manager as the sole reason for our good financial fortune is ludicrous, and ignores one of the main tenant of real estate: location, location, location.

This election, I stand as a choice between the status quo, the dictatorship of the financial imperative that is Plan E, and a directly elected Mayor, who will balance the financial and social imperatives and offer us the leadership necessary to concretely address the big issues facing Cambridge.