Somerville Alderman Candidate Releases Anti-Gentrification Ukulele Song
Somerville Song: a ballad of rising rents by Amy Kucharik48% of Somerville residents pay more than 1/3 of their income for housing. 20% pay more than half of their income for housing.On Thursday, September 17th, vote Elizabeth Weinbloom for Ward 6 Alderman and tell the city that housing affordability is a crisis that cannot be ignored.Housing costs are only going to continue increasing as our city becomes more and more desirable. Young tenants, artists, growing families, older folks on fixed incomes, students, and low-wage workers are just among the groups of people who are being pushed out of Somerville each year. Somerville has the capacity to innovate and lead the way for other communities facing soaring rents, but we need to tell City Hall to make it a priority.Elizabeth Weinbloom will push the city to make housing affordability the center of its agenda.2/3 of Somerville residents rent their homes, but all but one of our elected officials are homeowners. Elizabeth is the only tenant in a crowded race, as well as the only woman and the youngest candidate. Visit www.elizabethweinbloom.com or Elizabeth Weinbloom for Ward 6 Alderman to learn more.About the artists:Amy is a song-writer and musician, living and working in Somerville, MA. Hear more of her work at https://www.facebook.com/4stringserenade Jonathan is a theater director, living in Somerville, MA. Contact Jonathan at https://www.facebook.com/jonathanjcarpenter
Posted by Elizabeth Weinbloom for Ward 6 Alderman on Monday, September 14, 2015
Elizabeth Weinbloom is running for Somerville alderman (think: city councilor) in Ward 6, which contains Davis Square. Incumbent Rebekah Gewirtz, who has held the seat for the last decade, will not run for another term, creating a four-way race between former alderman Charles Chisholm, Progressive Together for Somerville cofounder Lance Davis, attorney David Lieberman, and Weinbloom, who describes herself an “an educator, an organizer, a musician, a cyclist, a feminist, a writer, a neighbor, an ally, and a roommate.”
Weinbloom, 30, has made Somerville’s rapid gentrification a focus of her campaign. She enlisted the help of Somerville musician Amy Kucharik, who penned a campaign song on ukulele titled, “Somerville Song,” after Weinbloom approached her over some frozen yogurt.
“I really wanted to support local artists through the process of my campaign, as well as the goals of my campaign for alderman,” Weinbloom tells Boston magazine, adding that her campaign posters were made by Union Press on Somerville Avenue.
“I’m a tenant myself. Two-thirds of residents in Somerville are renters, and of our elected officials, all but one are homeowners,” Weinbloom says. “In terms of City Hall, everything’s about homeowners and landlords.”
Included in Weinbloom’s proposed toolkit for staving off gentrification are an increase in what is asked of developers for affordable housing, including greater diversity in single, family, and senior units, as well as artist work spaces; a “benevolent landlords fund,” rewarding good behavior for the city’s longtime landlords; and a 1-percent transfer tax on real estate transactions above a to-be-determined threshold aimed at directly subsidizing affordable housing while discouraging flipping and speculation.
“When I heard there was going to be an open seat, I said, ‘This is it,'” Weinbloom says. “Voting for me will be a referendum on affordable housing.”
Ward 6 heads to the polls for its primary on Thursday to select two candidates for its November 3 general election.
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A ballad of rising rents by Amy Kucharik
They called you a slum but I called you home
A place where I could hold my own
A city built on broken cars,
Shady deals and biker bars
The only rent I could afford
A sandwich shop on every hill
Where else could I go
Where else would I live
I’m only going broke
Something’s got to give
You work to make a change
With nothing else to show
But where else would I live
Where else could I go
So people came from miles around
To polish up the gem we’d found
A coat of paint, a brand new song
The arts to beat, a place to honk
A new cafe, a renaissance
A yogurt shop on every hill
And we were building a better way
Down at the Rosebud and the Someday Cafe
But soon enough they raised the rent
Evictions for development
We hear the story everywhere:
“Pack it up or pay the fare!”
Elect Liz Weinbloom to save our square!
From pricy condos on every hill