by Dmitriy Ioselevich
The only city councillor living in North Cambridge spoke at the June 22 contributors meeting of The Alewife held at the back table at the Porter Square Books store.
“I guess people have come to see me a the 8-to-1 councillor, said City Councillor Craig A. Kelley, who is serving in his first term on the city council and is running for re-election in November. “It was not what I ran as, but rather I ran as someone who thought we could look at things differently and perhaps address than differently.”
Kelley, who for 10 years was the leader of the North Cambridge Stabilization Committee, said the moniker reflects his willingless to challenge the status quo, be it on dealing with City Manager Robert Healy or opening up the exclusive parking spaces behind City Hall, reserved for the members of the city council and the city manager. “People look at me as the eight to one councillor. If I can get enough people to agree with me it’ll stop being 8-to-1, and starting being 5-to-4, 6-to-3,” he said.
“One of the biggest issues I have been working on is trying to help the school department focus on making the schools more effective for all of our kids--my own kids go to the Baldwin School,” he said.
Frustration with the school system is widespread and documented in a recent attitudes study of city parents of city school students, he said.
The schools as a part of the city are part of the larger problem that the city government is alienated from the citizens, he said.
One way to re-connect the people with the city government is to get create new measures and make all new and existing measures open to the public, he said. “Data is something the city needs to develop.”
One example is the lack of analysis of traffic accidents, he said.
There is a lack of available information on post-accident statistics, which make it difficult to make good decisions, he said.
There appear to be a pattern of recurring incidents in specific areas of the city, where the poor traffic management has resulted in pedestrian injuries and vehicle crashes, scuh as the cyclist struck by a car in front of the Kaya restaurant in Porter Square, he said.