Commissioner Foster’s residency confirmed, 3-2

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
This screenshot of Monday’s public hearing during a Cambridge City Council meeting shows Commissioner LaShon Foster at bottom right with her attorney. At top from the left are Commissioners Steve Rideout and Donald Sydnor.

CAMBRIDGE — Members of the Cambridge City Council voted 3-2 Monday night that Commissioner LaShon Foster had adhered to the City Charter’s stipulations that she be a bona fide resident of Ward 3 during her term. Voting for a motion stating she had not followed rules regarding moving while in office were council members Steve Rideout (Ward 1), and Robert Hanson (Ward 5).

Members Donald Sydnor (Ward 2), Dave Cannon (Ward 4) and Commissioner Foster were opposed.

Before the hearing began, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley voluntarily excused herself, saying she saw a conflict of interest, as she and Commissioner Foster are both running for mayor.

Commissioner Rideout, who is mayor pro-tem, took over the hearing, which was held to determine Commissioner Foster’s eligibility to remain in office, after discrepancies developed in recent months regarding her addresses. One, at 2527 Southside Ave., in Ward 4, is where her husband was recovering from operations.

Another, at 501A Elm St., is in Ward 3.
Assistant City Attorney Thomas recounted a series of emails from Commissioner Foster regarding her addresses, and said that Commissioner Foster had not submitted all the documentation required when a commissioner moves. She had made sworn statements referring to the Southside Avenue home as her address.

Witnesses, who had been waiting outside, were allowed into council chambers for the public hearing. Several citizens spoke favorably of Commissioner Foster’s community involvement and said they had visited her at the 501 addresses over the years and recently.

Commissioner Foster said she had not moved, and therefore she was not required to submit papers. “I am a bona fide resident,” she said. “This is an illegal public hearing.”
“We have gone back to ’63 now,” Commissioner Sydnor said, adding that he believed it was an issue related to one group trying to maintain superiority over another. “This is ridiculous,” he said.

Commissioner Rideout played a recording of a radio show, in which Commissioner Foster announced her intention to run for office in Ward 4. She said her announcement on the radio was meant to mislead opponents in the city, because she had no intention of running for that seat, having decided to run for mayor.

All council proceedings are streamed online. To see Monday’s hearing, visit townhallstreams.com/cambridge. The hearing occurs in the final hour of the four-hour meeting.

Mr. Cannon is also employed as advertising manager for the Dorchester Banner.