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A Ward 5 City Council debate, voting in the preliminary election, and Somerville For All launches



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With the Delta variant on the rise and kids going back to school, the City takes cautious steps


According to Program Director Danny McLaughlin, the organization serves as an intervention


The Somerville Fair Housing Commission compiled a Fair Housing questionnaire for mayoral and City Council candidates to respond to. The Somerville Wire will be publishing the completed questionnaire in a six part series. The third is included below.


Somerville Media Center holds Ward 5 City Council debate

On August 12, the Somerville Media Center hosted a Ward 5 City Council debate, moderated by Adam Sweeting, a former Ward 3 School Committee representative. Candidates Tessa Bridge, Todd Easton, and Beatriz Gomez Mouakad responded to the host’s questions and in another segment, asked questions of each other.

Topics that the candidates addressed included the introduction of new Green Line stations and how they would impact the character and economics of Ball Square and Magoun Square. Community members should be involved in what kind of development goes on in the squares, said Easton.

“I think we need to look forward to the opening of the Green Line …” said Easton. He added, “We have to be mindful of what has happened in other parts of the city and take best practices from those areas and implement them into Ball and Magoun Square. That being said, the small businesses in those communities need to be involved in those conversations from the beginning, also.”

Sweeting asked the candidates what word each of them would most associate with their approach to policing, “defund,” “reform,” “abolish,” or “retain.” Gomez Mouakad said that she would choose the verb “reform,” saying systemic racism is still an issue, while Easton picked “retain,” saying that funds should be used to better support police on the streets today. Bridge decided on the word “defund.”

“I support defunding our police by 10% each year, for now,” said Bridge. “I believe that policing has taken on a role in our society that has greatly expanded over time. Police are responding to a lack of investment in social programs, which means that they are often responding to cases that fall outside of their role of enforcing the law. And this isn’t meeting the need of our society, it’s punitive rather than wellness centered, and it’s very expensive for our community.”

The candidates spoke to other topics such as how the Armory should be used and the role of the arts. They also addressed the need for green and open spaces. Gomez Mouakad responded to a question posed by Easton, saying that when it comes to her position on policing, she is concerned about the people most affected by criminal activity.

“For Todd, me, and Tessa, it’s easy for us to talk about less police,” said Gomez Mouakad. “We don’t worry about crime that much—I don’t think we do. But I think we need to bring to the table those who are mostly concerned about crime, who are most impacted by crime. I was talking to someone recently and said, ‘what happens to me if my boyfriend is trying to take money away from me … am I going to get a social worker or police?’ We need to respond to their concerns and work with them on that.”

Register to vote in the preliminary election

The deadline to register to vote and update your party affiliation or address is August 25 at 8 p.m. This deadline is for the September 14 preliminary election. Voters have the option of narrow the field of candidates for the position of mayor, Ward 5 city councilor, and Ward 7 city councilor.

A list of useful links are included below:

Register to vote:

More information about upcoming elections:

As a reminder, three Somerville polling places have been relocated. All other polling locations will remain in the same locations they were at last year. In Ward 3 and Ward 7, the polls will be moving to their pre-pandemic locations, while the Ward 6 poll will be in a new location.

Ward 3 Precinct 1

o   Pre-pandemic Location: Properzi Manor, 13-25 Warren Ave.

o   Former Location: Central Library, 79 Highland Ave.

Ward 6 Precinct 3

o   New Location: A room in the West Branch Library, 40 College Ave.

o   Former Location: West Somerville Neighborhood School, 177 Powder House Blvd.

Ward 7 Precinct 3

o   Pre-pandemic Location: A room in the VNA Assisted Living Facility, 405 Alewife Brook Parkway

o   Former Location: West Somerville Neighborhood School, 177 Powder House Blvd.

Somerville For All launches shared bid for city councilor at-large seats

On August 18, three candidates for City Council announced that they will be running on a shared platform known as “Somerville For All.” These candidates are Willie Burnley Jr., Charlotte Kelly, and Eve Seitchik. They have been endorsed by Our Revolution Somerville, Boston Democratic Socialists of America, and trade union groups. Their platform is striving to address topics such as a free T, improved infrastructure, the housing crisis, and public safety.

“Charlotte, Willie, and I are the movement candidates who will fight for justice every day, shoulder-to-shoulder with our neighbors,” said Seitchik, in a press release. “Together we will use every legal means to tax the big-money developers to pave roads, build housing, and accomplish a bold municipal Green New Deal.”

“As organizers we know that to make transformative changes in our community, we can’t do it alone,” said Burnley, in the same press release. “We need those that share our vision of a Somerville that works for all to support our people-powered campaigns by calling your neighbors, knocking on doors with us, and contributing funds to this movement. With your support, we can build a stronger, safer, and more sustainable city.”

This article is syndicated by the Somerville Wire municipal news service of the Somerville News Garden project of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.

All Somerville Wire articles may be republished by community news outlets free of charge with permission and by larger commercial news outlets for a fee. Republication requests and all other inquiries should be directed to


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Shira Laucharoen is assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and assistant editor and staff reporter of the Somerville Wire.

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