Illustration from the original Plan E Brochure that was a central piece of early CCA discussions. Source: CambridgeCivic.com
Times have changed, and it is not just men who are the players in Cambridge politics. But some things have remained the same - groups of leaders around the City stepping up and saying: Enough is Enough! It is time for a change! key thing we have noticed while canvasing recently is how eager people are to have our voter cards because they are receiving so many palm cards from candidates (in person and in the mail) and are finding it hard to identify who is for what. Indeed, one resident said outright “Finally, we have a card like the old CCA I can take to the polls.” Yes. Or you can put it on your refrigerator for when you fill out your mail-in ballot.
What is the connection between the old CCA and the new CCC? Quite a bit actually!
The Cambridge Citizens Coalition (CCC) followed in the footsteps of the Cambridge Civic Association (CCA) – itself founded in 1945 (a merging of several earlier groups) and positively impacting issues in the City until it came to an end after the demise of rent control in 1995. Eight years later, CCA ran its last slate of candidates. During its 58-year run, a CCA served for some as the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” for candidates running for office, representing a balanced approach that emphasized good government, concerns about housing costs (rental prices among others) and an array of other issues. The Cambridge Citizens Coalition is concerned with similar issues. We emerged from the group of neighborhood group leaders from across the city, individuals who often are at the frontlines in addressing core issues of government transparency, smart development, housing, the environment, housing and good governance more generally. More on the CCA legacy can be found at Cambridge Civic: http://www.rwinters.com/CCA/.
In the same way that Plan E was formed, in part through the efforts of the early leaders who formed CCA, so too parts of Plan E are now up for a vote in the November 2 Election. We will be discussing this more as we go forward. But in the meantime, let’s celebrate the rich history of citizen activism in Cambridge. No matter what your views are of Plan E in the present day, it is certainly time (over time!) to review key elements of this system and to work together to think forward about the next 50 years or so.
For more on the origins of Plan E advocacy, see: cambridgecivic.com/?p=3237
For more on the demise of CCA, see: www.thecrimson.com/article/1995/6/8/cambridge-civic-association-flounders-in-search/