Friday, November 15, 2013

The Needed Revolution

I once heard Mitchell Silver, the former president of the American Planning Association, say something I believe to be very very true.  Silver said that every planning meeting, regardless of what community it’s in, takes place in a room filled with 65 year olds, and their answer to every question is “No”.  He went on "That's no way to plan."

Indeed, and what he noted about America more generally is true in Cambridge too.  A cynical pol walks into that room, reads it correctly and exploits it. An unsuccessful pol (quod vide) simply gets fed up with the feeling of entitled opposition and grows dismissive of it. 

It’s the odd but all too common scenario that exactly the wrong people are in the room shaping the discussion, guiding the outcomes.  None of the huge investment in Cambridge right now is happening because of the AARP generation.  None of it.  That they should be the tastemakers is an awful paradox that needs to be upended.  This latest local election is a reflection of the start of that.  The greatest political revolution waiting to happen in Cambridge is the generational one.