'Divest From Fossil Fuels,' Says Somerville Mayor at Inauguration

In his inaugural address, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone outlined a number of goals for the city and argued Somerville, though changing, retains its creativity and diversity.

Judge Maurice K. Flynn, III, presiding justice at Somerville District Court, administered the oaths of office. Credit: Chris Orchard
Judge Maurice K. Flynn, III, presiding justice at Somerville District Court, administered the oaths of office. Credit: Chris Orchard
Posted Jan. 6, 2014, 11:36 p.m.:

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone outlined a number of goals for the city, including many environmental goals, during his inaugural address Monday night.

"Around the world cities are taking the lead on setting the standard on sustainability," the mayor said. "Like we've done in so many areas, Somerville will lead the way here, too. So, let's advocate together for the city's retirement system to divest from fossil fuels."

Listen to the mayor's full speech >>

"Let's work together to make curbside composting a reality," he said. "Let's revive Alderman Gewirtz's proposal to rid our community of plastic bags."

The mayor continued: "I'm calling on you tonight to make our citywide goal no less than to reduce net carbon emissions to zero—zero—by 2050."

Curtatone, who was sworn into his sixth consecutive term in office—an achievement unprecedented in Somerville history—delivered his inaugural address at the East Somerville Community School auditorium.

"It's still Somerville"

The mayor recounted his days growing up in Somerville, when immigrants, like his Italian-born parents and neighbors from Ireland, Greece and Portugal, "all came together to pursue our dreams."

Even though the city has changed, that fundamental character remains, he said.

"It's still Somerville," he said. "It's still filled with the same creativity and diversity we had when I was growing up. Then, neighbors shared their prized tomatoes and freshly grown basil. Hey, today we call that urban agriculture."

"A model city"

The mayor pointed to the coming Green Line Extension and Assembly Square Orange Line station, the tearing down of the waste transfer station and the accolades and attention Somerville has received as a well managed municipality as examples of the city's success. "We decided to control our own destiny and we did," he said.

"We have made Somerville a model city, a city others look to because we lead the way," he said.

Affordable housing, jobs, the creative economy and more

In addition to environmental goals, Curtatone outlined other priorities:

"Affordability starts with housing. Every family that wants a home in Somerville should be able to afford a home in Somerville," he said. "We will create a new affordable housing program for working, middle-class families. We will not leave the middle class behind."

In regard to Somerville's artistic culture and creative economy: "We will continue to foster the collaborative environment that sparks innovation and the creative arts … we will create new fabrication and arts districts that will preserve artist and neighbor spaces and live-work buildings."

He pointed to a jobs linkage fee, tied to real estate development, "that will support job skills training and career development services" for Somerville residents.

In all, "We will increase our investments in education. We will increase our investments in arts, culture and recreation. We will increase our investment in public health. These are our values," the mayor said.

More on Somerville's Inaugural Ceremonies

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Joseph M. Laur January 10, 2014 at 06:53 AM
This guy is the real deal, and courageous enough to stand up for his vision despite reactionaries and deniers of climate change. Of course conservation is the first 10 things you do, but long term shift away from our addiction to fossil fuels (even Geoarge W Bush saw that) needs to happen as soon as feasible. Use coal and oil as raw materials to make durable, recyclable goods, not to burn as the dirtiest of fuels.
Richard S January 10, 2014 at 10:14 AM
I agree with the above comment except the ridiculous term "deniers of climate change" There's over 15 years of no warming despite the greatest levels of Geenhouse gas ever. The "proof "of man made climate change is simply not there that is why there has been so much fraud in the studies recently. Look it up.
Matt C January 10, 2014 at 12:04 PM
Im going to park "climate change does not exist" with evolution is an unproved theory, obama is a nigerian communist, having a gun in your home saves lives and the interwebs are always accurate.
Richard S January 11, 2014 at 11:04 AM
Again, Just because people keep repeating something over and over does not make it true. Over 14 years with highest green house levels ever with no warming. Please do your research. The myth of man made global warming is falling apart. I can give many more articles if you want. Don't be afraid of the truth. Still waiting for someone to acknowledge that getting rids of drugs in high school is more important than getting rid of plastic bags, which was my original point
Drew February 17, 2014 at 11:01 PM
Hi Richard, Technically, the NOAA National Climactic Data Center does do its research, and overwhelmingly concludes that the planet is indeed warming: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/indicators/


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