Cambridge Day reports the Cambridge City Council today elected Sumbul Siddiqui to the post of mayor. She had been the only councilor last fall to win election on the first round in the city's weighted-voting system.
Is it considered mayor when it's the council choosing and not a general election?
Not sure if there's a different word for that.
Massachusetts allows for different types of mayor's, including the kind Cambridge has.
She was returned to the council on the first choice ballot.
To be elected mayor, a candidate must place first in the mayor’s race and also finish among the top six in the at-large City Council race. A person cannot be elected mayor without also winning an at-large council seat. Conversely, a person can lose in the mayor’s race and still win an at-large seat.
Massachusetts allows both "strong" mayors, where the mayor basically runs the city on a day to day basis (Boston is an example) and "weak" mayors, where somebody else runs things (for example, Cambridge, which has a full-time city manager).
Then there are all the different types of "towns" in Massachusetts (along with such things as "the City officially known as the Town of Watertown").
But there are two types of town governments and six types of city governments.
Towns can have open town meetings or (if they have more than 6000 residents) representative town meetings (although a town which has adopted a representative town meeting and falls below the population threshold can retain this form of government). There is no limit to the size of a representative town government, so that Andover, with 36,500 people, has an open town meeting (and therefore might be the largest single direct democracy in the world).
Cities can have six forms (see the linked article above) and a municipality can choose to incorporate as a city if it reaches a size of 12,000 (Palmer incorporated in 2004 although its population was then—and is still now—barely over 12,000, North Adams, which is a city, may see its population fall below 12,000 next decade, less than half its peak in 1900). These determine how the council, mayor and (if applicable) city manager interact.
I don't think Adam allows table tags, so here's my best attempt at a table and the tabs might be all screwed up. Oh and these don't perfectly match up with the plans A through F government types, because why should they, Wikipedia? Here's a not-up-to-date list of municipalities and government types from the MMA.
Government type —————Count——Population
Open town meeting—————259———2126773
Representative town meeting—33———880483
Basically, a bit more than half of Massachusetts residents live in cities, somewhat fewer in towns, although there are many more towns, many of them small: 292 out of 351 municipalities are towns. Most cities are mayor-council types.
Anyway, my point with population is that Massachusetts has more residents governed by a direct democracy than any other state in the US and possibly anywhere else in the world (unclear how exactly Swiss direct democracy works).
New England is the *only* place in the US that has this style government. I say New England because Town Hall Government can be seen in other New England States, not just MA.
It makes sense why. We're the birthplace of democracy. Without looking, I am pretty sure many town hall government setups existed before our country. Even the way town hall government (aldermen) is setup, is similar to our federal gov't. (representatives, a council of voted in people)
Of course this never made it outside of New England and most cities and towns elsewhere have two styles (mayoral or city manager).
Oh and btw.. population has nothing to do with whether a town has city manager or mayoral style government. Chelsea ditched Mayoral in 1997 after receivership. Many towns vote to change their charter based on need. I know a few other MA towns switched to City Manager style gov't in the past decade or two (And did so very quietly)
The birthplace of democracy? I have the greatest reverence for my New England ancestors, but this reverence extends to knowing that they were too well educated to think that they had invented democracy. Some of them could even speak Greek, and knew the origin of the word.
Aside from the legal technicalities which have already been addressed, the word "mayor" has been used to refer to a lot of different kinds of city leaders. The word "mayor" comes from English mayors, which historically was structured in a very different way from American mayors. (Although the position of Mayor of London was created in 2000 explicitly modeled after American elected mayors.)
Councilor Siddiqui showed political courage in casting the decisive vote to move forward with the Sullivan Courthouse redevelopment. She’s great.
The current Lechmere station is scheduled to jump over State Highway 28 without a funded complete streets plan for St Hwy 28. much to the detriment of Courthouse Tower and CambridgeSide. Lechmere station is also scheduled to become an elevated pass through stop with diminished bus connections. much to the detriment of East Cambridge. However, things may change suddenly with three new young leaders in Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford. The new leader of Somerville's City Council declared that the GLX is destroying Somerville. The new Medford mayor has been lukewarm on all GLX matters. Meanwhile Tufts got out of paying millions for a new GLX station and instead will pay $200,000 a year, showing that private entities are saying no and turning their backs. If the GLX is ultimately cut again, Siddiqui can pounce and make Lechmere a new major transit hub in Cambridge at the foot of the Courthouse Campus and Tower
You know something is afoot. In one night the GLX was called a community destroyer, a gentrification disease, a curse more than a blessing, and a chaos creator by Somerville's own leadership. They should really sit down with their fed delegation along-with Mayor Siddiqui and Mayor Lungo-Koehn
In other words. Replace a highly controversial rail extension with a mix of appropriate bus routes and bike paths. Each new leader should read up on ALARM in Arlington.
The new tunnel under the Arborway at Forest Hills should be a standard for Lechmere. Cambridge should demand its own tunnel under the O'Brien Highway and a new headhouse at the Lechmere Triangle. If the state refuses, Cambridge should pull the remainder of its $25 million GLX commitment until the state says yes.
Cambridge doesn't have a strong mayor.
A first is a first. Freedom and liberty are great things. Citizens of any background can make major accomplishments in a free country.
That said, the next time a female Muslim becomes a mayor we won't need to have it recognized as having any special importance, right? It will be common then. This is only noteworthy because it is a first. We will have no need for virtue signaling the next time. Or is there more to this story?
For example, today was the first time in the history of Boston that the City Council is a majority of women, even though that's the demographics of the city. I don't believe there's ever been a black woman governor in the history of the US and maybe 3 men, including Deval? The purpose of recognizing these accomplishments is so people from all backgrounds are encouraged and emboldened to run for office so our government looks like our citizens.
The timing of the second Muslim woman elected matters too. If it's 20 more years before another is elected, then that's noteworthy. If say Newburyport elects one next year (LOL), then not so much.
But then, you weren't really interested in an actual answer, were you? 'It will be common' 'virtue signaling' It's like the whistle was in your mouth, but you couldn't quite blow it...
All you woke progressives can shove your whistle up your collective rear. There is no whistle. I'm saying what I say plainly. I'm not making any secret points. I've made it pretty clear around here that I'm no friend of the progressives or the conservatives. It's just that the progressives' skin is so thin it is more fun to poke at them.
You can go to sleep tonight happy that a singular barrier has been broken. As will I. There is no reason someone of every demographic data set has not held varying levels of elected offices.
That said, I am more interested in diversity of opinion than diversity of background and woke progressives have no use for that. All they want is you to look different and toe the line. I just didn't expect you to so eloquently make my point.
that’s when I reach for my “Project much?”
It’s a favorite tactic of Trump and his idiot minions: casting their own faults on their opposition. It’s juvenile, transparent, risible.
Go find a playground where that bunk still works. Grownups don’t buy it.
Not to mention woke and virtue signaling. Those are also markers of a particular kind of discourse.
"I'm no friend of the progressives or the conservatives."
Sure sign that the writer is about unleash a volley of conservative talking points.
...and it is (among it's shelled peers). Yet outside of turtletown it becomes quickly apparent at just how woefully ill-informed and willingly ignorant it truly is.
This is your first reaction, what are you so terrified of?
If Biden becomes the second Catholic president, do you think anyone will mention it?
...what the word "common" means?
Or are you just being selectively and willfully ignorant? Again?
This is only noteworthy because it is a first.
so you admit that it’s noteworthy then? next time it happens, you won’t need to scream your racial anxieties into the void, right?
I think it's great she got the nod and it should be celebrated. I just hope that the "second" female Muslim Mayor who gets elected directly by the people gets her due recognition. Especially if it is outside a place like Cambridge. It would be ashame in my mind if someone managed to pull off a victory in let's say Weymouth but was eclipsed by someone who beat her to it via a council elected method in Cambridge a few years prior.
It should still be celebrated widely because it very well could be why that next person was able to break through. Once people realize that Cambridge is still intact the next day and the world did in fact not end.
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