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Union Square at sunset, October 2023. Photo by Ryan DiLello. Copyright 2023 Ryan DiLello.
Union Square at sunset, October 2023. Photo by Ryan DiLello. Copyright 2023 Ryan DiLello.

Rent Control Referendum Canvassing … and More!


After 16 months without a contract, SMEA says people are beginning to quit


A Great Week for the Rent Control Referendum Campaign

Ahead of two joint canvassing events this weekend, one in Cambridge, one in Somerville, two new polls released Wednesday show Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly support the ballot question to lift the ban on rent control. According to a poll by UMass Amherst and WCVB, 64% of voters said they would vote “Yes” to lift the ban on rent control. 15% would vote “No” and 21% were undecided. A Priorities for Progress poll found 65% support for the ballot question. Alongside the polls, United Auto Workers Region 9A and the Harvard Graduate Student Union-UAW Local 5118 have endorsed the ballot question. 

“It’s important to center the voices of voters and represent at-risk tenants. Doing that means organizing for and fighting for rent control,” said Rep. Mike Connolly. “It’s been very exciting to see the United Auto Workers and the Harvard Graduate Student Union endorse our cause. That’s in addition to the Alliance of Cambridge Tenants, the Massachusetts Alliance of HUD tenants, and leaders and residents across the state who are working together to collect signatures to bring this question to the voters for the 2024 presidential elections.” 

Join Rep. Connolly to collect signatures: 


Voter Registration Ends Tomorrow, October 28

Register or submit a Change of Address form by Friday, October 27 at 5:00pm in-person or online by midnight on Saturday October 28. 

Register to vote online, in person at City Hall (93 Highland Ave.), or by calling the Elections Department (617-625-6600 ext. 4200) and requesting a voter registration form. 

Look up your registration status here. If your status is “Inactive,” call the Elections Department at 617-625-6600 ext. 4200 for guidance on next steps.  

Vote on Election Day: November 7. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Look up your polling location online or call 311 (617-666-3311). 


Participatory Budget Selections Released

The selected city improvement projects were chosen from the more than 900 ideas submitted by Somerville residents for consideration. The ideas were then evaluated by budget delegate volunteers who collaborated closely with City staff to evaluate each idea’s need, impact, feasibility, and cost to determine the final ballot proposals. Somerville residents ages 12 and up were able to vote on the final ballot of 20 ideas from September 13-October 13.

  • Support Direct Community Food Access ($55,000): Contract with a nonprofit to strengthen direct community food access programs in Somerville. These initiatives redirect excess food to those in need and/or reduce the barriers for residents to access free or subsidized food using tools like Community Fridges.
  • Bike Lane Acceleration ($250,000): Accelerate the implementation of the Somerville Bicycle Network Plan. This funding will be used to pay for 1-2 miles of Quick-Build bike lanes divided by flexible delineators. This is additional funding, not replacement funding.
  • Bus Stop Improvement ($200,000): Improve access and condition of areas around bus stops in most heavily used corridors in Somerville (Broadway, Washington, Somerville Avenue). Options include real time signage, seating, landscaping, or innovative shade structures.
  • Faster BigBelly Trash Can Adoption for Rat Abatement ($250,000): Place additional BigBelly trash can units through the city to improve cleanliness and decrease the rat population. Part of this funding would also go towards promotional materials explaining measures that all residents can take to reduce the rat population.
  • Keep it Cool in the ‘Ville ($200,000): Install shade structures for parks and public squares. Create cooler, sun-safe areas for pedestrians and park-goers to reduce effects of urban heat.

The total project cost of the funded ideas is $955,000. The City will begin implementing these projects this fall. More complicated projects will take longer to realize, but the work to deliver on these community priorities will begin right away. News and updates on the projects’ implementations will be shared via all City communications channels and

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Ryan DiLello is the staff reporter for the Somerville Wire.

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