Beatriz is a candidate who believes in




Together We Can:


Ward 5 is at the heart of the Green Line Extension (GLX) project with two of the seven stations located in Magoun and Ball Square. This will create opportunities for Ward 5. There will be greater access to public transportation with many Ward 5 residents being less than a mile radius from an MBTA train station. At the same time the GLX creates new welcome opportunities such as greater access to public transportation, new developments could create concerns for displacement of local businesses and residents due to rising property costs or reconstruction of existing properties. As an Architect with experience in affordable housing and urban planning I will work with the Ward 5 community to help guide a more equitable and sustainable future for new development surrounding the GLX that respects the urban character of the area. Based on community input during my campaign I have identified five priorities that will help inform this process: affordable housing, sustainable/green development, open space, accessibility for all and local businesses.


Somerville has its origins as a working class and immigrant community were all could afford to live. We need to preserve our city’s roots, by making this a community welcoming for all by prioritizing affordable housing development.

Identify and Assess Housing Needs

The City needs to determine what types of affordable housing need to be built; assess the needs of lower-income residents who, because of their immigrant status or lack of access to funding options, are being displaced out of the community; and work on options for middle-income residents who cannot afford to own a home or rent in Somerville. This requires taking inventory of existing housing stock, evaluating the condition of existing properties to strategize repair, identify expiring use properties, and determining best strategies for future development particularly close to public transportation nodes such as the Green Line Extension.

Identify Options Beyond Inclusionary Zoning to Create Additional Affordable Housing Stock

We need to explore options beyond inclusionary zoning that create additional affordable housing units. The city needs to consider mixed-income development as well as mixed-use development that will help diversify affordable housing while lowering development costs. Development of affordable housing in Transit Development Zones (i.e. near Green Line Extension stops and future Assembly Square Developments) needs to be incentivized and encouraged by allowing higher densities but preserving the local character of the area.

Address Housing Needs of the Homeless

Providing housing for the homeless and the services needed to support their transition to stable housing needs to become a priority. For new housing developments the City should explore partnerships with nonprofits like Respond and the Homeless Coalition who work with the homeless to ensure all residents of Somerville can stay. The City also needs to identify and fund services that facilitate the housing transition for the homeless.

Explore Options to Stop Price Gouging Rent Increases

Some Somerville residents have been victims of sudden, high rent increases which cause displacement. The City needs to create a task force of non-profit housing agencies, renters and good-faith landlords to discuss the best options to regulate unfair rent increases and avoid displacement. Because it is often those without US legal status who are the worst victims of such displacement and as part of the city government, I will work to find ways to help protect these residents.

Explore Options to Lower Construction Costs/Evaluate Permitting Process

The cost of construction often outpaces wage increases, which in turn exacerbates increased housing costs leading to displacement. We need to explore options to lower construction costs such as through mixed-use housing or prefabricated housing and assess the permitting process that can result in costly delays. The City should create a task force that includes representatives from the construction trades, local contractors and others to explore lower cost construction options and to understand how the permitting process could be resulting in increased housing costs.

Incentivize/Encourage High Efficiency New Construction and Encourage Retrofitting of Existing Stock

Somerville needs to understand that affordability is not just the cost of housing, but also the cost of heat, AC and utilities. Last summer, the Boston Metro area saw utility bills go up by more than ten percent, placing an increased burden on renters and homeowners. Incentives and technical guidance need to be put in place for the retrofit of existing housing stock and to encourage greener construction practices for new buildings.


Buildings account for two-thirds of carbon emissions in Somerville. Climate change and environmental inequity have shown us that past construction and development practices are not sustainable and are not equitable. Somerville has embraced new sustainable measures such as incentivizing Passive House for Net Zero for greater density in zoning which are great steps to achieving Carbon Neutrality in 2050, still to reach this goal more aggressive measures need to be put in place to further green our buildings and lower carbon emissions.

Require New Construction to be Green/Carbon Neutral

New green and carbon neutral construction practices and standards need to be widely adopted by our city to encourage the development of more efficient and healthier buildings. Because Building Codes are enforced by the State, Somerville will need to work with state leaders in developing these standards.

Incentivize and Encourage retrofit of existing buildings

Somerville is full of beautiful older homes, but it is challenging and costly to retrofit these buildings. The city will need to explore programs and funding that provide technical resources and incentives for homeowners and landlords. While supporting our goals of becoming climate neutral, these changes will also make housing more affordable in the long run by lowering utility costs.

Encourage Mixed-Use Development/Expand Commercial Base

Sustainability is not just limited to “greener practices;” it is also about diverse mixed-use development that will lead to economic sustainability. A city needs a mixed tax base that will allow it to support its services, school infrastructure and fund new, affordable housing development. Somerville needs to expand its commercial base to help fund a more sustainable future[2] . Consideration should be given to mixed use developments that will allow for a higher density and but provide both commercial space and much needed housing.


The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the critical need for open space. Spaces for children, sports, recreation, passive enjoyment, festivals, and other uses improves the quality of life for all our residents. While we have many wonderful parks, playgrounds and other open space areas, we are still 110 acres short of our goal to add 125 acres of new, usable open space. Unfortunately, most of the land in Somerville is private, which means the City will need to encourage new development to include open space in their plans. For example, the City could allow higher density development if the developers include open spaces and less surface parking in their plans. Existing roadways can be redesigned for safety and a bit greener. The exciting plans to remove the elevated McGrath Highway to create a boulevard will have trees, parklets, and grassy corners. All these ideas will be needed to add open space and create a verdant city.


Sustainable and equitable development are critical goals and they must be joined by a goal of accessibility. Accessibility merely means that everyone can access the city, its buildings and public locations. It is a civil right that includes not only the needs of our motion- and sensory- impaired residents, but also our aging population, children and others. Accessibility works for everyone. The City needs to:

● Invest in the enforcement of existing accessibility regulations by creating a staff position to support compliance. A local successful model is Boston’s Architectural Access Board.

● Identify and assess public spaces and public buildings that do not comply with current accessibility codes. Fund efforts to bring those buildings into compliance.

● Prioritize the places that people use to travel to work, school or recreation. Fund upgrades of non-compliant commercial centers and major paths of travel to key destinations.

● Ensure that contractors and others understand the codes related to accessibility and know when they need to comply. If new construction or renovations trigger these codes, work with builders for compliance.


Local businesses are the cornerstone of our healthy local economy. These businesses invest in the community and help sustain it in many ways. We know that significantly more money stays in the community when purchases are made at locally owned rather than nationally owned businesses. They are often owned and operated by our neighbors, employ local young people, and provide a way for immigrant communities to get started. Furthermore, local businesses are more likely to purchase supplies and services from other local businesses further enhancing the sustainability of our community. However, these robust relationships are threatened by larger businesses and on-line commerce which are forcing the closure of many smaller businesses. Somerville needs to find ways to better support our local businesses such as:

● Consider micro-loans to help struggling businesses survive;

● Engage local businesses to discuss barriers to get started;

● Provide assistance in other languages to help support immigrant/multi-lingual populations starting their businesses;

● Improve the permitting process. Long, complex permitting processes can be a barrier and therefore the city needs to find ways to expedite this process;

● Consider impacts of new development on existing businesses; and

● Encourage residents to shop local and enhance the street fronts to promote more foot traffic.

Add something along the lines of our new zoning codes will support higher density, sustainable development and an expanded tax base. We need strong leaders to help ensure these new developments fit into our community and deliver on their promises.

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Ward 5 residents share the Somerville community’s growing concern regarding traffic safety after the four recent pedestrian deaths in Somerville including a mother who was a neighbor and a friend to many. Most recently in June, a hit and run at the corner of Cedar and Morrison, was a reminder of growing traffic safety issues in our Ward. Residents in Ward 5 consistently share their concerns of serious car, pedestrian and bike accidents particularly on cut through streets like Morrison, Lowell, Cedar and Central. They are also concerned about pedestrian safety on Broadway with the projected increase of pedestrians at the Ball Square Train Station. As bike commuter and the mother of two children who walk independently through out the neighborhood, I share Ward 5 neighbors concerns on traffic safety. Based on community input during my campaign I have identified the following priorities: pedestrian and bike safety, traffic enforcement and expansion of public transportation access.


I have a vision of streets that meet the needs of all our residents of all ages. People will feel safe whether they bike, walk, drive or scooter. Good design, access to public transportation, and enforcement of road rules will create an enjoyable, efficient transportation network throughout the city. Walking and biking will be everyday choices that will have added benefits to residents’ health and well-being. Carbon emissions will fall, and poor air quality and noise will be memories. To have this vision Somerville needs to:

● Design roads to be self-explanatory and force drivers to lower speeds.

● Eliminate dangerous intersections where pedestrians, cyclists and cars mix in crosswalks and intersections.

● Improve pedestrian infrastructure and ensure compliance with accessibility codes.

● Build bike lanes in high traffic areas. When a physical separation is not viable, vehicle speeds need to be lowered.

● Increase bike parking to further support bike transit.

● Address the environmental, social and health impacts of our larger roadways. McGrath Highway and the “Corridor of Death” were designed to increase

convenience for car commuters. Advocate for the redesign and reconstruction that meets current city needs, increases safety and reduces health impacts.


Although speed limits have been lowered across the city in recent years, cars’ ability to go fast has not changed. The Model Ford T had a top speed of 35 MPH! Today’s cars can reach high speeds very quickly making speeding commonplace and which increases risks associated with driving. We need to explore options for traffic enforcement and implement those options[ .


Somerville will soon have access to three different MBTA Lines: Green, Red and Orange. These train stops will create greater transportation access across the city - a success story to celebrate. yet Somerville should advocate for new bus routes and more frequent service so that the public transportation system is robust, efficient and effective. These needs are particularly felt in neighborhoods not serviced by public trains, and which tend to have minority populations. To improve transportation, access the City should work with the MBTA to:

● Study the origin and destination of its workforce and frequent users at all levels to determine if bus services need to be expanded or frequency increased.

● Ensure connections between local towns are created where the need exists.

● Study the viability of creating bus access in the north/south corridors which currently appear to be underserved[3] .

● Implement a pilot program for free bus transportation to increase public transit use in our community, decrease vehicular traffic, and increase vehicular safety.

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The education of Somerville’s youth should be a priority. Education is a means to provide greater opportunities for our youth and our more vulnerable communities. Somerville has great schools and staff that have adopted progressive values and implemented programs that support these values, but we still have work to do address inequities in our schools. Somerville needs to prioritize funding of staff and programs that help address these inequities. As a City Councilor I would support and encourage the School Committee efforts to implement such programs or to create staff positions to help bridge educational gaps. The education of our immigrant and low-income adults should also be included in our education priorities to prevent displacement and provide better opportunities.

Prioritizing our schools also means focusing on the maintenance and renovations of our school buildings. In the past two decades Somerville has built five new schools, yet two schools that have not had extensive renovations are in serious disrepair: Winter Hill and Benjamin Brown. We also need to ensure the continued maintenance of our newer schools to preserve these valuable community assets and their efficient operation.

Address systemic inequalities in our schools through funding for staffing and programs[1]

The COVID-19 pandemic made us realize the importance of schools in our community, and the educational inequities that exist for our lower-income and multi-lingual students of color who were adversely impacted by this crisis. These students have greater education gaps than their peers and it is imperative that we close these gaps. As a City Councilor, I will oversee the budget that funds our schools, their staff and programs that can be enlisted to close these gaps, both next year and in the years to come. We need to prioritize specific and targeted programs to close achievement gaps and increase success among our more vulnerable populations including children with disabilities, special education students, and lower-income students and multi-lingual students of color.

Prioritize skilled work-force programs that match new job opportunities

Changes in land-use in Somerville, and national employment trends, are changing the types of skills and preparation needed in the workforce and displacing some lower-skilled workers. To avoid further displacement of our lower-income residents and to provide better opportunities, the City needs to invest in skilled workforce programs that match the new job opportunities such as those in biotech or in the green economy. The city also needs to partner with organized labor and apprenticeship programs to help increase diversity and resident participation in the trades.

Prioritize school building improvements and maintenance

During the pandemic we experienced the perils of deferred maintenance to our school buildings. Somerville needs to undertake a comprehensive assessment of its older schools and establish a plan for improvements or new construction. Working with the State, we can secure and allocate funding for school infrastructure improvements and maintenance to avoid school closures and disruptions. Our school staff and students deserve safer and healthier buildings.



During the pandemic language and cultural barriers put certain communities of color, particularly our multi-lingual immigrant populations at greater risk. Due to cultural and language barriers, our immigrant populations had limited or no access to our healthcare, educational and government institutions. Access to technology also became an issue when communications were no longer in person. As a community we discovered that prior to COVID these barriers had been keeping our immigrant and multi-lingual populations from accessing programs (afterschool, summer camps, extracurricular activities etc.) that could help them succeed by providing further opportunities for development or aftercare for working families. Our immigrant and multi-lingual communities were not aware that these programs were available to them or if scholarship opportunities were possible due to communication gaps. To overcome cultural and language barriers that became so evident during the pandemic for our multi-lingual communities we need to prioritize cultural understanding and address their language needs.

Prioritize Cultural Understanding

With a large immigrant multi-lingual community, Somerville needs to recognize that the cultural norms and ways of communicating and interacting vary from culture to culture. We also need to recognize the challenges that come when communities are new to the country and have limited access to technology. It is important to understand how cultural differences and generational wealth gaps, among other challenges, can be barriers to the very programs that would benefit these communities. The City needs to increase trust with its immigrant communities by working with community leaders, hiring staff from similar cultural backgrounds, and addressing technology barriers. With improved methods of communication and outreach efforts, we can bridge these gaps and address the needs of our immigrant/multi-lingual communities.

Recognize language needs of our multi-lingual communities

Everyone in our community deserves to have meaningful access to the information and services they need. Currently there are support systems for translation, but they are sometimes inconsistent and are mostly focused on our schools. Somerville needs to create a Language and Communications Access Program that supports all departments and services across the City. The city should establish a goal to provide a comprehensive and universal language access to all government agencies including schools by 2021.